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A Classic period polychrome vessel depicts the birth of the maize god emerging through a dark underworld portal framed by twisted cords which terminate in serpent heads. These twisted serpent cords represent the umbilicus from which the world is born.

Classic Maya cylinder vase with the rebirth of the Maize God among twisted serpent cords. (Rollout photo by Justin Kerr of Vessel MS 1123 in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Copyright Justin Kerr.)