The painting on this vase chronicles the accession to kingship of Yajawte' K'inich, an 8th-century ruler of the Ik' Polity (present-day Motul de San José), a powerful kingdom in ancient Guatemala. The date of his accession 7 Oc 13 Xul (18.104.22.168.10 in the Maya Long Count calendar, or 25 May...
The painting on this vase chronicles the accession to kingship of Yajawte' K'inich, an 8th-century ruler of the Ik' Polity (present-day Motul de San José), a powerful kingdom in ancient Guatemala. The date of his accession 7 Oc 13 Xul (22.214.171.124.10 in the Maya Long Count calendar, or 25 May A.D. 749) and his name comprise the vase's rim text. In the scene, the seated king Yajawte' K'inich gestures towards a nobleman whose high status is indicated by his frontal portrayal and eye contact with the ruler. The nobleman's name, K'inich Lamaw Ek' (Lord Completion-Star), is found in the 3-glyph, horizontal text between him and Yajawte' K'inich. He took the Ik' throne at the death of Yajawte' K'inich, although he was not the son of the ruler. Behind the rotund figure of Yajawte' K'inich, an attendant holds a divination mirror, implying the accession rites of the ruler that included a vision quest rite. Behind the head of this kneeling figure, a two-glyph, vertical text gives the name of the master painter, the Tuub'al Ajaw, "lord of the Tuub'al place."
The glyphic inscription along the rim describes and dates the accession rite of Yajawte' K'inich, ruler of the Ik' Polity, and additional inscriptions between the figures give the name of an Ik' nobleman, K'inich Lamaw Ek', and identify the artist of the vase, known as the Tuub'al Ajaw ("lord of the Tuub'al place").
1970s, in a collection outside of Guatemala [see note 1]. By 1981, in a collection in New York [see note 2]. By 1987 until at least 1994, Carol Meyer, New York [see note 3]. May 10, 2008, anonymous sale, Skinner, Boston, lot 37, to a private collector; 2009, gift of this private collector to the MFA. (Accession Date: February 25, 2009) NOTES:  Nicholas Hellmuth, who photographed Pre-Columbian objects in collections outside of Latin America, photographed the vase in the 1970s.  Justin Kerr photographed it in New York City in 1981 (no. K1463).  The vase was on loan to the Yale University Art Gallery during this time.
Maya, Late Classic Period, A.D. 740–775
Place of Manufacture
Ik' polity, Motul de San José area, Department of El Petén, Guatemala
Overall: 10.5 x 10.2 cm (4 1/8 x 4 in.)
Medium or Technique
Earthenware with polychrome slip paint on white slip ground