National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Presented through the NGV Foundation by John Warner, Founder Benefactor, 2002
This digital record has been made available on NGV Collection Online through the generous support of The Vizard Foundation
This rare black background vase was painted using pigments suspended in clay slip. The scene revealed is one of the Maya court. The ruler sits on a jaguar pelt atop a wide throne and sees his own image in a mirror held by a dwarf. He is surrounded by a coterie of courtiers, among them supplicant lords, servants bearing gifts and foodstuffs, parasol bearers and flysweeps. Despite the complexity of the human representations depicted here, there is no doubt about this ruler’s position at the apex of the chain of humanity.