One of the important trade items from the Maya region to the powerful center of Teotihuacan was the cacao bean, a sacred ritual fermented drink. Maya vessels of the 4th c. show the influence of the delicate thin-walled lidded vessels of Teotihuacan. The embellishment of five slit cacao pods around this vessel also serve as rattles, adding another dimension to this elite service ware which may have contained the sacred cacao. The handle is modeled with a deceased dignitary head, perhaps the vessel owner, adorned with jade beads in the nostrils replacing the 'last breath'.
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