Yaxchilan Lintel 24

Yaxchilan Lintel 24

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Yaxchilan Lintel 24

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Lintel 24 is the designation given by modern archaeologists to an ancient Maya limestone carving from Yaxchilan, in modern Chiapas, Mexico. The lintel dates to about AD 725, placing it within the Maya Late Classic period. The text of Maya hieroglyphics indicates that the scene depicted is a bloodletting ritual that took place on long count date 5 Eb 15 Mac, or October 28, AD 709. The ruler, Shield Jaguar, holds a torch while his consort, Lady Xoc, pulls a rope studded with what are now believed to be obsidian shards through her tongue in order to conjure a vision serpent.

Discovery and removal

Lintel 24 was found in its original context alongside Lintels 25 and 26 in Structure 23 of Yaxchilan. Alfred Maudslay had the lintel cut from the ceiling of a side entrance in 1882 and shipped to Great Britain where it remains today in the British Museum of London. Lintel 25 made the journey in 1883. Lintel 26 was discovered in 1897 by Teobert Maler. It was removed to the Museo Nacional de Antropología e Historia in 1964. Structure 33 has since collapsed.


“The text consists of two sentences, one relating to Shield Jaguar, the other to his wife. The first three glyphs record the date and the event, “he is letting blood,” with additional glyphs apparently specifying the particular ritual context. Shield Jaguar’s name begins at E2b, with a title telling us he was a “4-Katun ahpo”--- that he had lived into his fourth katun, at the time of...
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