Interaction as Movement, Movement as Interaction: The Tripod Vessel in the Maya Region

Author(s): Bryan Schaeffer

Year: 2015


Interaction between the central Mexican city of Teotihuacan and the Maya region, and the subsequent influence of Teotihuacan on Maya material culture, has been much discussed. Although many scholars have noted the tripod cylindrical vessel as a diagnostic trait of Teotihuacan and as evidence of interaction and/or influence in other areas of Mesoamerica, further examinations of the tripod ceramic vessels and their imagery found in the Maya area have not been fully developed. The tripod vessel has even been questioned as a characteristic solely of Teotihuacan. A few scholars postulate that the tripod form originated in the Gulf Coast cultures of Veracruz. Previous examinations of these vessels have not adequately explained their presence in various Maya cities, from the highlands of Guatemala, to the southern lowlands of the Petén region, to the southern-most Maya city of Copán. This paper examines the movement of a stylistic form closely associated with Teotihuacan and the interactional dynamics of a culturally appropriated artistic form. Several ceramic tripod vessels from the Maya region demonstrate a fusion of Maya and "Teotihuacanoid" elements, underscoring an artistic exchange that traversed divergent Mesoamerican regions.

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Cite this Record

Interaction as Movement, Movement as Interaction: The Tripod Vessel in the Maya Region. Bryan Schaeffer. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 396375)


Maya Teotihuacan Tripod

Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -107.271; min lat: 12.383 ; max long: -86.353; max lat: 23.08 ;