The Dallas Museum of Art has announced the acquisition of an artistically significant pre-Columbian Maya vessel for its Arts of the Americas collection. This Late Classic (A.D. 700–900) ceramic vase is from the site of Quirigua in Guatemala, near the border with Honduras. Small, at only seven inches high, and striking, it features a modeled face, perhaps that of a Maya god. The vase is scheduled to go on view this summer in the Museum’s Ancient Art of the Americas gallery on Level 4.
Appearing in scholarly publications in 1913, 1916, 1935, 1943, and again in 1980 and 1988, the ceramic vessel was sold at auction in November 2014 by the St. Louis Chapter of the Archaeological Institute of America, which had acquired the object in 1912 through the St. Louis chapter’s support of field excavations by archaeologist Earl H. Morris during the Third Quirigua Expedition.
“We are delighted that the Maya effigy vase, a beautiful work of ancient American art, has found a new home in our institution,” said Maxwell L. Anderson, The Eugene McDermott Director of the DMA. “Given the art historical importance of this pre-Columbian vessel, its clearly documented provenance, and its cultural heritage in the Americas, the DMA deemed it important to maintain this historical vase within a public collection, one which offers free access to visitors interested in seeing it and to scholars for research and publication.”
“The vase is a stunning example of Late Classic Maya modeled ceramic art. Its acquisition both advances the DMA’s ancient Americas collection and offers a striking object for appreciating the diversity and refinement of Maya visual representation,” added Kimberly L. Jones, the Museum’s Ellen and Harry S. Parker III Assistant Curator of Arts of the Americas.
The Arts of the Americas collection at the Dallas Museum of Art, which includes more than 4,400 works of art spanning more than 3,000 years and representing sixteen countries, is remarkably representative of the great artistic achievements and cultural heritage of the Western Hemisphere.
For more information, visit DMA.org.