The scientific tourist #324 — Quirigua’s Stela C

Courtesy of the “Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed” traveling exhibit, it’s Stela C from the Maya site of Quiriguá in Guatemala:

Stela C, Quirigua

Well, OK — it’s actually a museum quality replica of Stela C.  Quiriguá was a medium-sized site (located in what is now southeastern Guatemala) during the Maya Classic period, attaining its greatest power and status just before the end of the Classic in the 9th century AD.

From the placard:

Quirigua’s most important king graces the front of this stela.  A semi-divine being, he bears the name K’ak’ Tiliw Chan Yo’at, which means “Fire-burning Celestial Lightning God.”  By holding up the jaguar-headed throne made at the dawn of the universe, he aligns himself with the creative powers of the Maize God.

Quiriguá reached its zenith under the reign of K’ak’ Tiliw Chan Yo’at.  Once a vassal state of Copán, Quiriguá gained a measure of indepence via the capture / beheading of Copán’s king in 738 AD, likely backed by an alliance with the Classic era great power of Calakmul.  But this state of affairs would not last long, the site being essentially abandoned barely 100 years later.

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