Page:Mexico as it was and as it is.djvu/138

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This is really one of the most beautiful relics in the Museum, and is very accurately represented on the opposite page. It was discovered about nine feet below the surface of the ground; the upper portion of it was filled with skulls, while the lower contained fragments of the rest of the human frame. There appears to have been no bottom to the vase, but it was covered with the circular top delineated in the engraving. The whole vessel is one foot ten inches high, by one foot three and a half inches in diameter.

This vase, besides being remarkable for the ornaments in relief upon it, presents all the colors with which it was originally painted, in high preservation and brilliancy. Immediately below the rim is a winged head with an Indian dress of plumes. The eyes are wide and fixed, and the mouth is partly opened, displaying the teeth. The handles are oddly shaped, and depending from the tips of the wings is a collar formed of alternate ears of corn and sunflowers. The colors of the body of this vase are a bright azure; the upper rim is a brilliant crimson, and the next a light-pink. The head and the ends of the wings, with the stripe in the middle, are painted a light-brown. The circular ornament in the centre is crimson, and the figures on it yellow. The sunflowers are also yellow, while the two outer ears of corn are red, and the centre one blue. The band below these is brown, similar to the head and wings.

The head on this vase is very remarkable in its expression. There is a fixed, intense, stony stare in the eyes, and a pinched sharpness about the mouth, which denote its character. It was evidently the idea of an Angel of death, while the full blown sunflower, and the ripe and stripped ears of corn, denote the fullness of years.

In one of the cases are a series of interesting objects, of which the following designs will give the reader some idea.

click on image to enlarge.

This is a rattle, made of baked clay, finely tempered, containing a small ball, the size of a pea.