While doing my homework for Super Bowl Sunday with The New York Times sports section this morning, I couldn’t help noticing an article, by Joe Lapointe, on the history of Fleur power. Decorated with a fleur-de-lis pattern, an image of a Mayan vessel caught my attention.
It turns out this was a common graphic motif for this culture. The image at left, dated from AD 600-900, is from the Pre-Columbian Collection of The Library of Congress. On their site they say this about the history of the vessel,
“This tall, narrow cylindrical vessel is a striking example of a class of vessels that feature a stylized, repetitive motif of three-lobed white and black flowers reminiscent of the lilies (fleurs-de-lis) used in later European art and heraldry. Despite their frequent appearance on vessels from this region, their significance remains unclear.”
The cup on the right, which the decorative motifs suggest was used to serve a chocolate beverage, is at the Art Institute of Chicago and is from Guatemala or Beliz and dated about AD 780.