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 Museum Explorer

Leaders and rulers in the Americas

The Fenton Vase

Diameter: 17.200 cm

AOA 1930-1

The Fenton Vase

From: Nebaj, Guatemala (Maya)
Date: AD 600-800

This vase shows a Maya ruler sitting cross-legged on a bench, wearing an enormous headdress to show that he is important. He is pointing to a basket full of corn bread gifts called tamales. On the rest of the vase people are shown paying him tribute. This means bringing him presents, like a kind of tax. The six hieroglyphs in boxes to his left list his name and titles.

A fine vase like this could only have been owned by a powerful ruler, and would have been buried with him when he died.