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An Interpretation of Motifs on Protoclassic Polychrome Pottery from Naj Tunich Cave

Author(s): James Brady

Year: 2017

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A good deal of academic attention has been focused on the iconographic analysis of Maya painted ceramics, principally from the Late Classic Period and to a lesser extent from the Early Classic. The tradition, however, begins in the first century A.D. during the protoclassic ceramic stage. Virtually no analysis has been undertaken on these earliest Maya artistic expressions probably because the motifs are largely geometric and figural representations are rare. I compiled a motif inventory from Ixcanrio Orange Polychrome sherds recovered from Naj Tunich Cave, Guatemala. Comparisons with ceramics from other sites indicate that the motifs are widely distributed indicating that the symbol set was understood throughout the southern lowlands. The message appears to be a fundamental one in that the same motifs continue to be used all the way through the Classic Period. The message is related directly to earth and water.

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An Interpretation of Motifs on Protoclassic Polychrome Pottery from Naj Tunich Cave. James Brady. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430293)


Cave Iconography Maya

Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 13271

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America