Collection Online
Ik vessel
10.6 × 11.7 cm diameter
Place/s of Execution
Peten, Guatemala
Accession Number
Pre-Columbian Art
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Gift of an anonymous donor through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program, 2009
This digital record has been made available on NGV Collection Online through the generous support of The Vizard Foundation
Gallery location
The Ancient World
Level 2, NGV International
This is a very fine vase with a depiction of lesser lord carrying out a blood offering rite in front of a seated ruler who is making a courtly gesture as if directing or consecrating the rite. The lesser lord can be seen placing sections of rags soaked in blood into an offering tray. They are being burnt giving rise to a vision serpent through which the ruler will communicate with the spirits and ancestors in the Otherworld. Another lord is shown carrying another offering bowl with a decapitated head probably a symbolic reference to the corn god and therefore to sacrifice.

Unlike some other Late Classic Maya polychrome ceramic traditions Ik style ceramics are also noted for the artists’ complementary use of very fine calligraphic lines and bold blocks of colour set against a soft orange-cream background. They also have strong glyphs with rich red-pink outlines painted in a glossy ferrous rich terra sigillata slip with a less pronounced infill of black or red fine-line that has a greater propensity to wear than the bolder outlines.