Vessel fragment - ROM2019_17413_43


Vessel fragment

Maker: Ulua Valley Culture
Geography: Playa de los Muertos, Honduras
Date: 450-550 CE
Object number: HO166
Not on view
DescriptionUlua polychrome vessels are ceramics that were created during the Classic and Early Postclassic periods (250-1000 CE) in the Ulua River Valley. These vessels are the careful work of craftspeople who lived in towns and villages nestled throughout the lush, tropical valley. In many households, older artists shared their knowledge of clay sourcing, working, firing, and decorating with new generations. Most Ulua Polychromes are bowls, dishes, or jars that were used to serve food and drink. Although craftspeople borrowed some motifs from the Maya culture to the north, Ulua pottery was a local development that worked to form a shared identity and cosmology across the valley. The vessels served multiple purposes in the social, political, and economic spheres of the Ulua Valley: they were used as gifts, for rituals, during feasts after ball court games, and in household meals.

This fragment of a cylindrical vessel dates to 450-550 CE. The vessel was likely a cup used to hold beverages made from cacao, maize, or other local ingredients Geometric patterns like the one on this fragment were common during this time and may represent highly stylized standing figures. The repeating motif may have identified the group or family associated with the vessel’s creation.    

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