Maya 2012 - From Copan to Penn

Posts tagged Copan Sculpture Museum

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Rosa: Uncovering a Buried Temple

Upon entering the Sculpture Museum in Copan, visitors will be greeted by a reproduction of Rosalila temple. Moon Jaguar, the tenth ruler of Copan, built the temple of the Sun-King on top of the remains of previous temples. It was the most important religious sanctuary at Copan in the late sixth century. The temple was meaningful to the subsequent ruler that built a new temple on top of it. The common practice was to destroy old temples and build new ones on top of the old ones. The ruler, however, decided to not destroy Rosalila. He encased it with stucco and clay, interred it with a burial offering, and built a new one on top of it. The embalming made it possible to conserve the temple over the centuries. 

The temple was discovered in 1989 by archeologist Ricardo Agurcia Fasquelle. Today it is under ground level, but it was measured, making it possible to create a life-size reconstruction that is housed in the museum. Archeologists gave the temple the name Rosalila from its color, violet pink. Rosalila is significant because it is almost intact with its plaster reliefs and a considerable amount of paint remains that made it possible to reconstruct how it looked like in its time of glory. The impressive colors of the temple will make visitors wonder how Copan looked like during the classical period with all of its painted temples with stucco decoration. 

Reproduction of the Rosalila Temple in the Sculpture Museum in Copan

Filed under Copan Copan Sculpture Museum Maya Rosalila Temple Rosa

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Rosa: K’inich Yax K’uk’ Mo’ in Art

In the iconography of the different rulers of Copan, K’inich Yax K’uk’ Mo’, the founder of Copan, can be recognized by several attributes, especially that of warriors from Teotihuacan. For example, Altar Q, exhibited in the Sculpture Museum in Copan, depicts the sixteen rulers of Copan, but K’inich Yax K’uk’ Mo’ is easily recognized, probably investing with power the sixteenth ruler. He wears goggles, which were characteristic of Teotihuacan warriors, has a macaw and a quetzal intermingled on his headdress, and his right arm is covered by what looks like a shield.

Tests done to the body that is believed to be that of K’inich Yax K’uk’ Mo’, show that he had fractures on his right arm, which could have been caused by the handling of the shield. Furthermore, these tests show that he was not from Copan, leading some to believe that he was from Tikal or Teotihuacan. The intermingling of the macaw and the quetzal is an interesting one that could derive from ancient myths. It is known that Quetzals feathers were imported from Guatemala, while Macaws were collected in Copan. Today the scarlet Macaw is the national bird of Honduras, while the Quetzal is the national bird of Guatemala. No other ruler in Copan is depicted with this type of headdress.

Altar Q in the Sculpture Museum in Copan.

Photo by Rosa De Armas

Filed under Altar Q Copan Copan Sculpture Museum K’inich Yax K’uk’ Mo’ Maya Rosa