Turkey was an elitist food, and effigy vessels depicting turkeys have been found in burial sites alongside depictions of other animals with elite associations, such as jaguars. Depictions of turkeys are fairly rare; for some depicted on codex style vases, see www.mayavase.com, K1001, K2010, & K2011. although the feathers of the turkey are probably among those in ornaments worn by characters depicted in Maya vases, and Ralph Roys noted that turkey feather fans may have been symbols of rulership among the Maya. (Roys, Ritual of the Bacabs, 1965, p. xvii).
The turkey was also believed to have purification powers, and the encrusted deposits on the underbelly of the present vessel may result from its use for the boiling of liquids during ritual and hallucinogenic ceremonies. The rich carved personified serpent-wings imbue this majestic vessel with a special potency through reference to both celestial and earthly manifestations.
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