Villahermosa – Museo Regional de Antropología

Tobasco Fire Basket

This cylindrical brazier, or fire-basket, was found by Carlos Pellicer Camara within the “gruta de Tapijulapo. It is coated with a type of pigment known as “Azul Maya” or Maya blue. It features mythical beings of the underworld and the central character poses in priestly manner. He wears a long nosed mask, has the inverted sign of the “%” on his forehead which symbolises death and wears an apron featuring the symbol for the four points of the horizon on the front. He stands on the head of a mosquito (although the proboscis has broken off), which may symbolise its actual use, for burning wood and incense to keep the room warm and mosquitos away at night, however, it may have just been used to burn incense during religious ceremonies.

© Robin Heyworth, 30th December 2001

A fire-basket or brazier found in Tobasco