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The delicacy and grace of this small masterpiece make it stand out from among the many beautiful objects found in the royal tombs of the ancient Mixtec center of Zaachila. The symbolism of the hummingbird drinking from the cup might be a metaphor for the sun drinking the blood of sacrifice.

Cup with a hummingbird
Post-Classic (900-1521 A.D.)
Zaachila, State of Oaxaca
Burnished fine clay with red, white, black, grey and blue pigments
7.5 x 7.8 cm.
National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico.

Photo © Jorge Pérez de Lara