About this artwork
The simple, elegant design of this vessel reflects the refined abilities of the artist, who painted images of water lilies and a hieroglyphic text with a perfectly controlled brush. The inscription below was the first to be deciphered on a Classic Maya vessel. It states the name of the artist, Ah Maxam (aj maxam), and declares that he is a member of the royal lineage of the kingdom of Naranjo. His mother and father are also named on this vessel, as well as on other dynastic monuments from the region. For the Maya, water lilies were symbolic of the watery surface of the Underworld and the earth’s regenerative powers.
- Ah Maxam
- Water-Lily Vessel, "Vase of the Water Lilies"
- Petén department (Object made in), Naranjo (Object Probably made in), Guatemala (Object made in)
- 700 CE-850 CE
- Ceramic and pigment
- 24 × 15 cm (9.5 × 6 in.)
- Ethel T. Scarborough Fund