Overall: 274.4 x 182.3 cm (108 1/16 x 71 3/4 in.)
Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1967.29
Find spot: Guatemala, Department of the Petén, El Perú (also known as Waka')
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.
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