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Picture

Narration

NARRATOR:
This elaborate Maya vessel may have once held tamales or soup for high-ranking nobles to enjoy during a feast. The pot makes a rattling sound when it's moved, thanks to a clay ball inside each foot.

SFX: (audio of rattling, to be provided)

MATTHEW ROBB:
We don't really know why that would have been an attractive feature. But if you're trying to create a lively atmosphere at a dinner party or a ritual feast then it does make sense to have a vessel that'll make a little noise and keep that energy going.

NARRATOR:
Because of the precious materials used to make the vessel, it was most likely made by, as well as, for Maya nobles. The image was painted with a fresco technique, by applying pigment to wet plaster, and depicts a scene of courtly Maya life. But what's truly striking about the vessel is its color.

MATTHEW ROBB:
Specialists and scientists identify this color as 'Maya Blue.' It's made from a combination of indigo and very rare blue clays. It is remarkable in that it fades very little over time. The Maya may have thought of this as similar to jade and greenstone in its durability and permanence. And for them, these kinds of durability and permanence were akin to a symbolic life force.

NARRATOR:
Above the blue vessel, you'll see a painting by Mexican muralist Raul Anguiano, which features the Maya scribe Hunahpu, as he writes the history of his people. Other figures in the painting are inspired by paintings at the Maya ruins of Bonampak, created at the same time as this blue vessel.

Step5-Pot with Noble, Maya Culture, Guatemala


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