jade head

A small mosaic jade head from Burial 116 in Temple I, Tikal. It is about an inch high and originally crowned a cylinder vessel entirely covered with jade. Fabrication of such an artifact would have been an outstanding technical feat because jade was one of the hardest materials the Maya knew.

The face may be a portrait of Late Classic Tikal ruler Jasaw Chan K'awiil, the individual who re-gained Tikal's position of dominance in the Central Peten Region. He might have known Tikal as "Chac Mutul" during his reign from AD 692 to perhaps as late as 733.

Jasaw's tomb has meant that Temple I was a memorial, funerary monument. The intent could have been different. The temple might have been built as a device calculated to secure the influence of the deceased Jasaw to favour Mutul state projects.

photo: HSL More information on Temple I and Burial 116.

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