Pot from El Chiclero Pottery Museum

"Functionally, these plates are excellent candidates for single-use funerary items to hold food or other offerings for the dead...Many of these plates exhibit little or no wear and some have a 'kill hole' poked through their centers, ostensibly to free the plate's spirit prior to interment. Yet three points argue against this single function. First, some plate's interiors are hightly eroded, implying their use by the living as service vessels. Second, many Dancer plate sherds have been excavated from nonfunerary contexts at Tikal, Ramonal, Uaxactun and El Zotz'. Third, Tikal Dancer plates are painted with the same dancer imagery that characterizes the majority of Holmul-style vessels whose extrafunerary function as social currency and elite service ware is documented through archaeological and use-wear evidence. The excavation of Tikal Dancer plates at other sites in the central Petén points to a similar ceramic exchange that, in some cases, may be characterized as social currency function. Therefore, it is probable that, even though the Tikal Dancer plates' primary use may have been as a funerary ware, this does not preclude ancillary preburial use."

Dorie Reents-Budet, Painting the Maya Universe: Royal Ceramics of the Classic Period, p. 198