Plaque engraved with glyphs and an image of a noble - ROM2004_1220_2


Plaque engraved with glyphs and an image of a noble

Maker: Maya
Geography: Altun Ha, Belize
Date: 600-900 AD
Period: Late Classic Period
20.3 × 6.8 × 2.3 cm
Object number: L966.10.1
Not on view
DescriptionA prized trade good, jade was symbolically connected to life because its colour mirrored water and vegetation. This example from a tomb at Altun Ha is one of the largest known jade plaques from the Maya world. One side shows a ruler seated on a throne that depicts the head of the Sun God. The vine-entwined cacao tree rising behind him likely represents the World Tree that linked the Heavens, the Earth, and the Underworld. The throne sits on top of the Witz Monster, a living mountain where the Gods dwelled. Twenty glyphs on the other side of the plaque refer to a conquest and enthronement that occurred in the late sixth century CE. Since the jade was carved some fifty years before it was placed in the tomb, the plaque was probably an heirloom passed from father to son.
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