Front Face of a Stela (Free-standing Stone with Relief)

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Did You Know?

The powerful Maya queen shown on this stela is known as Lady K’abel.


In stone sculpture, Maya rulers celebrated the milestones of their reigns with flamboyant portraits like this image of a royal woman, created to mark the passage of a twenty-year period known as the k’atun. She originally stood in a plaza next to a portrait of her spouse (see photo), with whom she ruled El Perú-Waka’, a provincial Maya town. A member of the powerful dynasty of a nearby Maya center, she seems to have held higher authority than her husband, serving as a military governor. Her costume reflects her status: the headdress has a fan of green quetzal feathers and her jewelry probably refers to jade-both among the most prized of ancient materials. Jade beads also may form the net over her garment, belted with the head of a fish-like creature. Completing the costume are the scepter and shield she grasps in her hands. The dwarf at her side may be a court attendant. The hieroglyphic text refers to important dynastic dates.
Front Face of a Stela (Free-standing Stone with Relief)

Front Face of a Stela (Free-standing Stone with Relief)


Mesoamerica, Guatemala, Department of the Petén, El Perú (also known as Waka'), Maya (250-900), Classic period (200-1000)


Original Context

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