- Museum number
- Series: The Yaxchilan Lintels
Lintel 17: Carved limestone lintel with an image of Bird Jaguar IV and one of his wives, Lady Balam-Ix, taking part in a bloodletting ritual. He wears elaborate jade ornaments and a headband with a skull and skeletal snake. He is preparing for auto-sacrifice while his wife passes a rope through her tongue to draw blood. The inscription records this ritual.
- Production date
Height: 69.20 centimetres
Width: 76.20 centimetres
Depth: 5 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- McEwan 1994, p.47
The bloodletting scene shown here parallels that on lintel 25. The sumptuously dressed kneeling woman pulling the rope through her tongue is Lady Balam-Ix, another of Bird Jaguar's wives. Opposite her sits Bird Jaguar, also bedecked with ornate earplugs, nosepiece, bar pectoral, jade cyclinder cuffs and a shield tied to his back. The fact that he is wearing a skull and skeletal serpent headdress like Lady Xoc on lintel 25 suggests that he too is about to let blood by piercing his penis with the long perforator that he holds in front of him.
- On display (G27)
- Exhibition history
The Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto 19/11/11 - 9/4/12
Canadian Museum of Civilization, Gatineau 17/5/12 - 28/10/12
- slightly worn
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- Maudslay’s original sculptures, from Yaxchilán in Mexico and Copán in Honduras, were initially deposited at the Victoria and Albert Museum (known as the South Kensington Museum until 1899) in 1885. There appears to have been some lack of clarity over whether these were a gift, or a loan from Maudslay. With Maudslay’s permission, the original sculptures and a selection of casts were transferred to the British Museum, on the grounds their subject matter more properly fell within the British Museum’s purview. The deliveries took place on the 20th (originals) and 22nd (casts) of November 1893. The majority of the casts remained at the V&A, on the understanding that they too would be transferred to the British Museum as soon as space could be found for them. Continued confusion over the legal ownership of the collection (Maudslay, V&A or BM) – see correspondence V&A correspondence archive - probably explains why neither casts nor originals were registered at the time of their arrival. The issue was finally resolved with the transfer of the remaining casts to the British Museum for exhibition in 1923. The originals sculptures were therefore given a 1923 registration number, despite their having been present at the British Museum since 1893.
- Africa, Oceania and the Americas
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Miscellaneous number: AOA 1886-320 (Compass number)
Previous owner/ex-collection number: 1886 320 (V&A)