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|Kerr Number: K9181|
|Comments: Tripod vessel. Tikal EG. The figure seems to be a full figure representation of the worm bird glyph from the rim text. Comments from Penny Steinbach (edited) K9181's mysteries. Given its stylistic affinities with objects such as K2704, K4562, and K5042, I'm also inclined to regard its EG as referring to Tikal rather than Dos Pilas. The stacked "smoking" element between the two figures is quite atypical, but its oddness is nothing compared to the strangeness of the twice-depicted creature itself. I agree that its head resembles one of the glyphs in the PSS, although I think it looks more like the tz'i bat than the worm bird. It is, indeed, a quadruped and its legs and feet are similar to the hind leg and foot of the freaky reptile(?) perched in the tree on K1345. Yet, it is also overtly piscine.
In keeping with the conventions of Classic Maya iconography, the creature on K9181 is fish-like because it has a bifurcated tail (e.g., K5391), a crenelated back medallion (e.g., K7287), and a feathery fin along its spine (e.g., K5462). (Hellmuth, in Monsters und Menschen, addresses the deliberate blurring between bird wings and fish fins.) The spiral pupil, fin-like projection above its nostril, and the tendril/barbel by its mouth are also indicative of fish. However, the feathery fins above its face and on each half of its tail are overkill.
Bottom line: the vessel's size and shape seem authentic and more or less appropriate for something made for someone from Tikal. However, I suspect that its glyphs and figures have been heavily and inaccurately restored. (For example, the bi syllable in y-uk'ib shouldn't have tendrils on its left side [or anywhere], and the central element of the back medallion shouldn't look like an eye with a big, black pupil.) It also seems likely that the original artist's grasp of the iconography and writing was somewhat tenuous. Nonetheless, it is an interesting vessel to examine and analyze. Thanks for telling me about it.
CLICK for the shape of the vessel