The scientific tourist #328 — Altar Q, Copan (west side)

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.

Altar Q, Copan (West side)

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.

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