Pre-Columbian Collection

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  • Panel

  • Maya, Late Classic
  • 800 CE
  • 151.13 cm x 55.88 cm (59 1/2 in. x 22 in.)
  • limestone
  • PC.B.537
  • Currently not on view
  • Description

    The panel depicts a standing male figure and consists of multiple fragments of yellow-gray limestone that were embedded in cement and reinforced with a steel frame in modern times. The central fragment is cut just below the figure’s arm. The carved surfaces of the panel are in variable states of preservation. The lower section of the monument seems to be the least damaged. The upper portion of the panel, including the top of the figure’s head, is missing. The top left corner shows evidence of having been exposed to the elements for quite some time. Since the border framing the sides of the carved scene is clearly visible, and the sides of the monument do not show any sign of cutting or drilling, it is possible that the original width of the monument was not substantially different from the current one. The area below the feet of the carved figure appears to have been cut off. The original monument was most likely a panel or a small stela, now missing its top and bottom sections.

    The figure appears somewhat elongated, as if the carvers were constrained by the width of the stone block. He has a shield in his right hand; his left arm is flexed and holds a short ceremonial bar that ends in serpent heads on either side. K’awiil (God K) emerges from the mouth of the left serpent. The protagonist is standing barefoot, in a posture suggesting dancing, although both feet are on the ground. Most of his headdress is missing; only the tips of the feathers descending to the right of his head are visible. He wears round earflares and a large necklace with five rows of beads. Broad bead bracelets adorn his wrists and ankles. His skirt, the most complex detail of his costume, consists of several layers of textiles, a jaguar pelt, a broad rigid belt with a scaffolding motif, and a similarly decorated apron that ends in an elaborate representation of flowery breath.
    An inscription of eleven hieroglyphic blocks arranged in a double column is located in the lower left corner of the panel. The inscription is relatively well preserved and legible. The inscription begins with a Calendar Round date that can be reconstructed if we assume that it falls on a k’atun anniversary. This seems likely because the dedication of the monument is described as “binding the stone”—a phrase that is used in the context of period-ending rituals. The best candidate would be the k’atun ending of 9.18.10.0.0 in the Maya Long Count system or August 15, 800, in our calendar.

  • Bibliography

    D’Arquian and Stolper 1962:cover

    D’Arquian, Stolper, and Gabus 1964:34

    Mayer 1978:35, pl. 51

    Miller and Stuart 1981:197–204, figs. 1–2

    Miller 1984:20, fig. 6 (reprinted 2002); Mayer 1987:9, pl. 24

  • Exhibition History

    "Art précolombien", Musée d’Ethnographie de Neuchâtel, Neuchâtel, Switzerland, October–December 1962.

    "All Sides Considered: New Research on the Maya Collection:, Dumbarton Oaks, Washington DC, 09/08/12 - 06/02/13.

    "Permanent exhibit", Dumbarton Oaks 1963-

  • Acquisition History

    Acquired by exchange from Robert Stolper, New York (dealer), 1963

    Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Pre-Columbian Collection, Washington, DC.


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