The incised design preserves the upper part of a representational scene that takes place beneath a pillared portico supported on either side by ornate lotus, papyrus, and volute capitals.
Likewise, the hybrid nature of their imagery, such as winged composite animals and voluted palmettes, has been taken as a lack of originality, a view that tends to stifle interest in iconographic meaning.
It is not uncommon for both Recent and fossil volutes from southern South America to have a protoconch that is corroded to various degrees by cold acidic waters.
The city was gloriously clean, its classical columns and pediments and its baroque scrolls and volutes now clearly delineated by the shadows cast by an oblique sun on their pale surfaces.
Executed like the voluted palmettes and tabletop inlays with incised details but no surface modeling, it represents the forepart of two winged lions with bull's horns flanking a voluted palmette.
A sphinx and a winged lion with bull's horns flanking a voluted palmette form a central focus, while the remaining groups proceed more or less in linear fashion toward them, starting at the opposite point on the bowl's circumference.
In the center of the screen is a gate topped by two scrolling volutes supporting an oval crest bearing the emblem of the Jesuits, IHS.
This circularity is echoed and enhanced by the razor-sharp curvilinear forms of apsidal niches, rounded arches, semicircular columns, Ionic volutes , decorative ovals, and turned balusters and kraters.
The only other pieces close in date to it are two composite capitals (also from the mid-10th century) in the third room, one labeled ‘Corinthian’ for some reason, although Ionic volutes are just as prominent as acanthus leaves.