All About History


Out of the dark shadows emerged a fairytale sight, a fantastic and transcendental view of another world. Such was the stunned reaction of the archaeologist Alberto Ruz Lhuillier as he first entered the tomb of K’inich Janaab’ Pakal in 1952. Pakal had been the ruler of the bustling Maya city of Palenque, in present-day Chiapas, Mexico, from 615 until 683.

The massive carved stone lid of his sarcophagus, located beneath the city’s Temple of Inscriptions, explained that Pakal would first travel to Xibalba, the Maya underworld, then make good his ascent via the legendary World Tree. Pakal was suitably dressed for his odyssey. His skeleton wore a stunning death mask along with the finest jade collar, necklaces and rings. His sarcophagus displayed images of his ancestors and symbolism redolent of the Maya maize god, a figure who encapsulated the perpetual cycles of rebirth and renewal. Pakal’s journey was far from being over, and a stone tube, heading out of the tomb, may well have been intended as a ‘psychoduct’: a conduit through which Pakal’s spirit could venture upwards to encounter worshippers in the temple.

The Maya knew how to treat their dead kings, especially during the so-called Classical period (c.250 CE-c.900), and royal funerary sites were crammed with treasures and potent images: jade and pyrite artefacts, porcelain-like cowrie shells, turtle carapaces, stingray spines and cinnabar. But why was such devout attention lavished

Stai leggendo un'anteprima, registrati per continuare a leggere.

Interessi correlati

Altro da All About History

All About History1 min letti
Defining Moments
The Crystal Palace, an iconic Victorian landmark in London made of glass and cast iron, was built for the Great Exhibition in 1851. On 30 November 1936, a local man walking his dog noticed a small fire inside, which quickly escalated. Over 80 fire en
All About History6 min lettiInternational Relations
Forgotten Fronts Of World War I
Between 1914-18 over 30 nations declared war and joined in the conflict which we now remember as World War I. There were troops everywhere from the Middle East to Africa. Yet today when we see the conflict portrayed in films, books and documentaries
All About History2 min lettiPolitics
A History Of American Slave Revolts
While some historians have identified records of more than 300 slave revolts in the US alone, the country’s first all-Black rebellion took place in Virginia in 1687 with the Westmoreland Slave Plot. Half-a-century later, in 1739, a slave named Jemmy