He of White Lizard (aj sak teleech) takes center stage on this elegant panel from the site of Lacanha in southern Mexico. He is richly bejeweled with a necklace of large beads, earspools, a nose bead, wristlets, and anklets made of rectangular pieces that may represent cut shell. His hair is tied back and held in multiple strands decorated with beads or symbols for jade, and he wears an elaborate headdress with long feathers hanging at the back. His small mustache and goatee are characteristic of the Lacanha region, while the small lump on his brow may be a decorative scar, reminiscent of some seen on figurines in the Jaina style.
The glyphic text identifies this personage as an important lord who ruled the city of Lacanha. He is given three different titles—sajal (lord), anab (having to do with craftsmanship), and cha’jom (someone who scatters incense)—possibly a sign that he held several overlapping roles or offices. At the time of carving, he was a vassal of Knot-Eye Jaguar, king of the Bonampak-Lacanha kingdom. However, he may have acceded to this throne himself at a later date, as other sources indicate that his son was ruler of the kingdom after 776. Such changing fortunes were common in the eighth and ninth centuries, when the southern Maya lowlands were engulfed in a pattern of power negotiations, realignments, intense warfare, and diminishing resources, commonly called the “collapse.”
In this scene, He of White Lizard sits on a throne that has all the trappings of an earth monster. In his arms, he holds a long ceremonial bar that ends on either side with images of the god K’awiil. He performs a ritual to conjure K’awiil, who emerges from the Underworld in his guise associated with fertility and growing maize. An initial series date on the right side of the panel reads 188.8.131.52.0, or 4 June 746.
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