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11842Mayan/Olmec Drinking Vessel

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  • Dick
    Feb 1, 2012
      I'm in northern Nicaragua, and last week when I went to buy some locally made bricks,I bought an item that the owner said was excavated on his property, while he was digging clay for his bricks. The item appears to be a drinking vessel. It has three legs with finger holes and what appear to be thumbrests on two of the legs. The bowl area is approximately eight inches in diameter, and the three legs protrude about an inch from that. There is a gargoyle type head protruding on one side, and a damaged protrusion on the opposite side (much like a frog's nose and eyes. The finish is faded off-white paint or glaze with much crazing. There are what appear to be blue lines inside at the bottom edge that ring the bowl, and numerous different panels? painted all around the inside wall. Most of these are faded and although fairly simple line drawings, are not easy to describe. One, may be a snake with an open mouth at the left, with the body extending to the right and curving upward to what may be a head. then a smaller head and body with outstretched arms sitting in the lap of the snake/man/woman. There are also numerous panels around the outside, some with the blue and what appears to be a dull red.
      Is there any safe way to clean this? Can anybody tell me what it was used for? I would think that it was ceremonial, probably too big for blood, so maybe chocolate.
      Any info would be greatly appreciated.
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