Urn in the Shape of Pitao Cozobi, God of Maize Artist: Unknown

A.D. 300–600

Art of the Ancient Americas

On view, 1st floor, Art of the Ancient Americas

Figures such as this, which commonly appear on urns from Oaxaca, have been identified variously as Cocijo, the Zapotec god of rain and lightning; Pitao Cozobi, the Zapotec god of maize; or their impersonator. Here, corncobs sprout from the feathered headdress,
their growth made possible by the lightning, clouds, and rain (symbolized by the S-shaped emblems in the band below the feathers). The figure sits atop a box with a glyph for a place name.


Ceramic with pigment


17 5/16 × 10 5/8 × 8 9/16 in. (44 × 27 × 21.7 cm)

Credit Line

Stephen Carlton Clark, B.A. 1903, Fund

Accession Number



Early Classic Period


Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of records is ongoing.



Carlebach Gallery, New York, October 1, 1955; Fred H. Olsen (1891–1986), and Florence Quittenton Olsen, Guilford, Conn.; gift in 1973 to Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn.
  • Mary E. Miller, The Art of Mesoamerica: From Olmec to Aztec, 5th edition (London: Thames and Hudson, 2012), 115, fig. 100
  • Mary E. Miller, The Art of Mesoamerica: From Olmec to Aztec, 5th ed. (London: Thames and Hudson, 2012), 113–16, fig. 100
  • Elise K. Kenney, ed., Handbook of the Collections: Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1992), 317, ill
  • George A. Kubler, ed., Pre-Columbian Art of Mexico and Central America (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1986), 102–3, 261, no. 210, fig. 102
  • Lee Allen Parsons, Pre-Columbian Art: The Morton D. May and The Saint Louis Art Museum Collections, exh. cat. (New York: Harper & Row, 1980),
  • "Acquisitions, 1973," Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin 35, no. 1 (Summer 1974), 76, illustrated p. 56, ill
Object copyright
Additional information

Object/Work type

funerary art, mythology, urns



Technical metadata and APIs


Open in Mirador

View IIIF manifest

The International Image Interoperability Framework, or IIIF, is an open standard for delivering high-quality, attributed digital objects online at scale. Visit iiif.io to learn more

Linked Art

API response for this object

Linked Art is a Community working together to create a shared Model based on Linked Open Data to describe Art.