Griffin Gallery Begins 2015 with a Spectacular Exhibit, “Chamá Cylinder Vases of Maya Highlands”, Featuring a Rare Polychrome Chama Pottery Cylinder Vase

The Griffin Gallery begins 2015 with a spectacular exhibit, “Chamá Cylinder Vases of Maya Highlands”, Featuring a Rare Polychrome Chama Pottery Cylinder Vase!  The Rickie Report is pleased to share this information because it is an opportunity for the public to see rare antiquities and have a dialogue with informative personnel.  The Griffin Gallery Ancient Art invites you to our SECOND THURSDAY exhibition opening, January 08, 2015. This event is from 5:00 P.M. until 7:00 P.M. Admission is FREE and we are Open to the Public, so please join us and bring a friend or two. Save the Date of the SECOND THURSDAY exhibition opening each month on your calendar from October until April.





Griffin Gallery Presents



Chamá Cylinder Vases of Maya Highlands
Featuring a Rare Polychrome Chama Pottery Cylinder Vase 


Elaborate Dancing Lords

Guatemala, ca. 600 – 800 CE
Ex: John Fulling collection, Florida

Public Reception:

Thursday, January 08, 2015

5:00 P.M. until 7:00 P.M.

The exhibition continues through February 11, 2015

Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday 10:30 A.M. until 5 P.M., Monday by appointment only and closed Sunday.



In the essay “A Reinterpretation of the Chamá Vase”, Elin C. Danien writes that painted ceramic cylinders made by the Maya during the Late Classic (A.D. 700-900) form a special category highly appreciated by archaeologists, art historians, artists and connoisseurs alike. Many of these polychrome masterpieces have been excavated intact from the tombs and palaces of the elite, and are recognized as among the finest expressions of Maya artistic genius. Indeed, their presence is often an indicator of Classic “Maya-ness” (Reents Budet 1994.) The function and significance have been topics of debate, and the meaning of the painted scenes has been the subject of widely divergent arguments.




griffinMaya Chama1

Rare Polychrome Chama Pottery Cylinder Vase

Chamá Polychromes are named for the type site in southern Guatemala, which lies in a fertile valley in the Alta Verapáz, Guatemala’s hilly middle country, situated between the great Classic Era cities of the Petén in the Lowlands, and the more sparsely populated highlands to the west and south. The region lies on one of the major Precolumbian trade routes, but is peripheral to the prominent lowland Maya cities, and its architectural remains are not spectacular. That, and the political unrest of the past twenty years have contributed to the long archaeological hiatus in the region. Thus pottery, always a significant element of the material record in any archaeological investigation of Maya civilization, is of paramount importance when attempting to understand cultural development and change in the geographically marginal Chamá region, where no archaeologists have worked for the past 80 years. Such vessels are almost all we have from which to infer a history of the region and to open avenues of inquiry into questions of trade, politics, craft specialization, and iconography.




Chamá-style cylindrical vases have distinctive black-and-white chevron motif bands painted around the rim and base, with a bright white, and strong red-and-black palette, applied to a distinctive yellow to yellow-orange background. The preferred decorative template is either a static scene or individual repeated on each half of the vessel surface, or a continuous scene wrapped around the cylinder, such as on the well-known Ratinlinxul Vase.

Where hieroglyphs are present, they are usually short phrases, personal names, or calendrical day names. Because highland ceramics used fewer and frequently more sketchily drawn glyphs than those used on the well- known lowland ceramics, modern epigraphers at first believed they were merely decorative motifs, or else imitative pseudo-glyphs placed there by illiterate artists. This is no longer a credible theory, although many of the inscriptions remain poorly understood.

One of the reasons for the interest in these ceramics is the unorthodox sudden appearance of this sophisticated style in the equivalent of the Maya boondocks. The Chamá style emerged suddenly, flowered briefly and, with equal rapidity, ceased abruptly, as the potters turned back to their local traditions. Although generally ascribed to the Late Classic, Reents-Budet suggests an even tighter temporal frame: “Based on the scant archaeological data available for Chamá-style vessels, they probably date from the late seventh or early eighth centuries A.D.” (Reents Budet 1994). She estimates that no more than two or three generations of potters, working in an extremely circumscribed geographical area of Guatemala’s Hilly Middle Country, far from the great Classic centers of the Maya lowlands, were responsible for all of this pottery.


Griffin Gallery specializes in museum quality Ancient Art. Our holdings include over five hundred authentic artifacts that reflect a spectrum of the cultures of Antiquity in addition to Contemporary Fine Works of Art. Among our treasures are pieces from Greece, Rome, Egypt, the Far East, the Near East, the Holy Land, Pre-Columbian cultures, and pre historic Native America.



The Original Miami Beach Antique Show
Miami Beach Convention Center
January 30, 2015 – February 03, 2015
Booth 3008



Boca Raton Fine Jewelry, Art & Antique Show
February 07 – 09, 2015
Boca Raton Marriott
5150 Town Center Circle
Boca Raton, FL
Booth 13

For more information:

Griffin Gallery Ancient Art
Gallery Center, 608 Banyan Trail
Boca Raton, FL 33431
561.994.0811, fax: 561.994.1855


Sponsored by: Beiner,Inkeles & Horvitz, P.A. 2000 Glades Road, Ste. 110, Boca Raton, FL, 33431, (561) 750-1800

Works Cited: FAMSI – The Kerr Articles – A Reinterpretation of the Chamá Vase




For coverage of your events, to place an advertisement, or speak to Rickie about appearing in The Rickie Report, contact The Rickie Report at:

Rickie Leiter, Publisher

The Rickie Report

P.O.Box 33423

Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33420