Mayan Jaguar Vessel

Richard G Witham

Joined February 2008

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Artist's Description

This small Jaguar vessel was probably used for burning copal incense during ceremonies or on a small home alter. It is between 1200 and 1400 years old (Give or take a hundred years or so). It’s actually a 3 legged vessel, but the angle of this photo only lets you see 2 of them.

The (Maya) Jaguar God of Terrestrial Fire is recognizable by a ‘cruller’ around the eyes (making a loop over the nose), jaguar ears, and jaguar fangs. He personifies the number Seven, which is associated with the day Ak’b’al ‘Night’. Usually called ‘Jaguar God of the Underworld’, he has traditionally been assumed to be the ‘Night Sun’, i.e., the shape taken by the sun (Kinich Ahau) during his nightly journey through the underworld. There is little to validate this view; what we do know is, that the so-called Jaguar God of the Underworld was identified with a star or constellation (rather than with the sun), and with terrestrial fire. He is often represented on incense burners, and is connected to fire rituals. (Wikipedia)

Copyright © 2008 Richard G. Witham All rights reserved
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