Hochob Structure II hochob II

A reconstruction drawing by George Andrews. This is the central part of a long "palace" or "range-type" structure located in south/central Yucatan. It is one example of an architectural type known as "dragon mask" structures, relatively common in this part of the country but rarely found elsewhere (an exception is Temple 22 at Copan). The central doorway is the open mouth of a mask with a projecting element. These are generally known as "long-nosed" masks although in many cases the projecting element is a lip rather than a nose. Many are referred to as "chac" masks, quite possibly in error. The identity remains problematic but may be closer to Itzamna than to Chac.

The horizontal architectural type, as distinct from the vertical, roughly pyramidal form, is generally labelled as "palace" and assumed to have been residential although evidence for this is rarely found. Examples like Hochob Str II, with the monster mouth, are often called temples, although, again, there is no good evidence for function. It is simply that buildings with this kind of imagery do not seem to suggest residence. Such an impression may be very misleading, however. Many members of Mesoamerican communities had very demanding ritual roles to fulfill. They may well have had to live in buildings that displayed some aspect of their civic responsibility.

The Dragon Mask buildings in Yucatan generally belong to the Late Classic Period, the 8th and 9th centuries. Many have not been dated, cleared or restored. Good examples can be seen at Uxmal and Chichen Itza.

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