Another impressive piece of work displayed in the “Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed” traveling exhibit, its a beautiful sculpture of one of the Kings of the ancient Maya city of Copan:
Discovered in the ruins of Copan’s Temple 22, this finely carved figure is thought to be a portrait of the kingdom’s 13th (of 16) ruler, Waxaklajuun U’baah K’awiil. His elaborate headdress features a mask of the Celestial Bird (beak broken away), topped by the heads of three other gods that indicate royalty.
This portrait was one of eight full-body sculptures that symbolically protected the temple built in honor of Waxaklajuun U’baah K’awiil (and accordingly, this was originally located directly above the doorway into the temple).
On display at the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History (in Albuquerque, New Mexico), it’s a Jupiter IRBM:
The Jupiter has to have one of the oddest and most confusing histories of any missile ever fielded. And this, for a weapon that was strategically useless, nearly started World War III, and which was retired within a few years of its introduction to service.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Years ago, I told you about the Rheintochter R1 (or R I) surface-to-air missile, and in particular, the example on display at the Deutsches Museum in Munich, Germany. But there’s also one of them at the National Air and Space Museum’s Udvar-Hazy center in Chantilly, Virginia:
The German Air Ministry started development of the Rheintochter R I in 1942, and 82 test missiles were launched from 1943 through 1944. Its planned successor (the R II) showed no improvement in performance, while only six of the next variant (R III) were ever flown before the program was cancelled in February of 1945.
The R I weighed 748 kg (1650 lbs) and was 5.9 meters (19.5 feet) long.
For your consideration this week, a large cooking pot from the ancestral puebloan site of Mesa Verde in southern Colorado (on display at the History Colorado Center in Denver):
This particular style of pot is called Mesa Verde Corrugated Gray — it’s smooth on the inside but intentionally rough on the outside. The corrugations made the pot easier to grip and helped spread heat more evenly. Meanwhile, the tapered neck and flared rim helped avoid boil-overs.
This pot is part of the museum’s Wetherill Collection — a cache of artifacts collected by early explorer Richard Wetherill, and purchased by the museum for $3,000 in 1889.
Posted in Astronomy, Biology, Carnivalia, Communicating science, Critical thinking, Foundations of science, History, Math, Space
Tagged Astronomy, Biology, carnival, Carnivalia, evolution, History, Math, Space
Last week, you got the west side of Copan’s Altar Q — today, you get to see the top:
Altar Q is unique in that its sides present a complete list (including the names) of all the rulers in Copan’s last dynasty. Its top hosts 36 hieroglyphs describing the origins and history of Copan’s dynastic founder, K’inich Yax K’uk’ Mo’.
This is the west side of Altar Q, from the ancient Maya site of Copan in Honduras. Or more accurately, it’s the west side of a very high-quality replica of the altar.
This altar was built in part to legitimize the reign of the 16th (and as it turned out, final) ruler of Copan. The sides of the altar show all 16 rulers in chronological order. This side shows Copan’s dynastic founder (the second figure from the left) passing his staff of power to the 16th ruler, Yax Pasaj Chan Yopaat. The carving thus indicates that the 16th ruler of Copan received his right to rule directly from Copan’s founder.
This was on display at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science as part of the Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed traveling exhibit.