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Cylinder Vessel

550-850 CE

(, - present)

The Hero Twins are the protagonists of the Popol Vuh-the Maya story of creation. Xbalanque and Hunahpu, as they are known by their Maya names, were known for their daring exploits and celebrated for their athletic prowess on the ballcourt. Painted on this vessel is each twin holding a staff topped with a round shield; these may be portable ballcourt markers. The twins also cradle human skulls spurting blood. This imagery is a gruesome reminder that some ballgames culminated with the ritual decapitation of the defeated ballplayer.

Place object was created: Petén lowlands

earthenware, slip paint

Measurements:    height: 8.3070869446 inches    diameter: 4.6062994003 inches

Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Francis Robicsek 2004.96.3

Currently on view at Mint Museum RANDOLPH