General Aztecs Maya Tocuaro Kids Contact 24 Nov 2017/9 Rain
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Page of Maya geometric design motifs from pottery from Spinden

Teaching the Maya - RESOURCE: geometric designs

Here’s a new resource on the Maya: a page of traditional geometric design motifs used in pottery decoration. It’s from the classic work A Study of Maya Art by Herbert J. Spinden (Dover Publications, New York, 1975 - originally published in 1913). Spinden was a pioneering US Mayanist and art historian. (Compiled by Ian Mursell/Mexicolore)

An onyx handle Maya pottery vessel from the Ulua Valley, including many spiral elements. The main motif is of a bat. Kerr no. 9262
An onyx handle Maya pottery vessel from the Ulua Valley, including many spiral elements. The main motif is of a bat. Kerr no. 9262 (Click on image to enlarge)

As you can see from the page, in Classic Maya art the fret and the spiral motifs were used frequently and were finely developed. As a rule, the geometric elements are found applied in bands around the neck or rim of the vessel. In the example we show here, it’s the whole damn thing! Can you spot the bat face in the middle? And match the design on the vessel to the closest match on the page at the top?

Photo © by, courtesy of and thanks to Justin Kerr, Mayavase.com (link below).

This article was uploaded to the Mexicolore website on Aug 31st 2017

See a delightful cartoon video ‘The Legend of the Bat’

Justin Kerr’s superb Mayavase database
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