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Incense Burners

Name: Incense Burner/ Warrior with Butterfly Headdress
IDAEH Cultural Property No:
Category: Incensario

“Theater type” censer, Teotihuacan style, painted in yellow, green, sky blue, white and pink, with a pedestal base and cover.

The lid is decorated with a warrior whose face is painted red and has slanted eyes. He wears a big butterfly ornament, although abstract in form, its cut-out design is a Maya innovation. The top of the headdress has a supernatural butterfly in the center, surrounded by smaller butterfly designs, while the lower frame has 3 squared glyphs, surrounded by fringes or feathers. The butterfly is an element associated to war.

Most of the features of this censer follow the Teotihuacan canons of sacred warfare incense burners. The warrior holds a version of the lateral tables as metaphors for sacred warfare (atl-tlachiniolli, or “water-fire”) although they are adorned with Maya-style feathered divination mirrors. The basal rectangle displays three detailed renderings of the Teotihuacan “reptile’s eye” motif associated with the state’s ideological charter, which is not common on the Pacific Coast censers.

* Pacific Coast of Guatemala, around Tiquisate and La Gomera, Escuintla.

*ca. 400-600 AD

*Information with the support of Dorie Reents-Budet, PhD.

Period: CLASSIC (150/200 A.D.-900 A.D.) Early Classic (150/200- 650 AD).
Provenance: Pacific Coast of Guatemala
Medium / Material: Clay
Technique: Appliqué / application, Modeled, Molded, Painting
Location: Hotel Hyatt Centric

Total Height (base and lid): 84.5 cm

Base “a”
Height: 32.5 cm; Diameter: 31 cm

Lid “b”
Height: 52 cm; Width: 49.5 cm;
Diameter: 30.8 cm

References to similar objects:


1. TREASURES OF THE MAYA SPIRIT. L.A. Art Show. Los Angeles Convention Center (14 – 19 Enero 2014)

2. TREASURES OF LA RUTA MAYA. Sala Quiroa. Paseo de Los Museos. Hotel Casa Santo Domingo. Antigua Guatemala (Agosto 30 – Noviembre 30 2014).

3. On exhibition in the lobby of Hotel Hyatt Centric Guatemala since August 2017



Photo credits: Jorge Pérez de Lara