JAIC 1993, Volume 32, Number 2, Article 6 (pp. 153 to 164)
FROM CODEX TO CALABASH: RECOVERY OF A PAINTED ORGANIC ARTIFACT FROM THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE OF CERÉN, EL SALVADOR
HARRIET F. BEAUBIEN
ABSTRACT—During the 1989 field season, a layered deposit of paint fragments was excavated at the site of Cerén, El Salvador, and thought to be the remains of a classic Maya period codex. Information gained from materials analysis and conservation treatment now suggests that it once was a painted calabash (or gourd), with the strongest evidence provided by the reconstructed decorative scheme and impressions of the disintegrated substrate preserved on the fragments' reverses. Supporting archaeological and literary evidence for this interpretation is presented, and treatment procedures and mount design are discussed.