Maya Vessel Replica

Image of Aztec woman pouring chocolate

Maya Vessel Replica

Image of Maya Vessel Replica

Maya Vessel Replica

Maya Vessel Replica close-up
Paper Mache; Chicago, USA
Honduras, 250-900 AD
Kerr Collection Rollouts, 2002

Aztec woman pouring chocolate
Codex Tudela, Madrid 1553

The Maya loved their chocolate, and they created special cups from which to drink. Hundreds of vessels like this replica have been found throughout Central America, decoded by archaeologists who can read the ancient hieroglyphic writing. Look through the magnifying glass to see the glyph, which looks like a fish. This was one way of writing the Maya word for chocolate. People would grind cacao nibs into a paste and mix it with hot water and spices. The heat from the water caused the chocolate to separate into layers as it settled. Mesoamericans would then pour the drink between two cups to keep it mixed, producing a frothy delicacy almost like a latte today! To the Maya, the spirit of the chocolate could be found in the froth. The Aztec woman in the image to the right was documented doing the same traditional practice many years later. This drink was especially important among the elite in spiritual ceremonies like the scene pictured on the vessel. The Toltec and the Aztec also used cacao seeds as money!

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