- Museum number
- Series: The Yaxchilan Lintels
Lintel 25: Carved limestone lintel, showing Lady K'ab'al Xook on the bottom right of the panel. Lady Xook is in the hallucinatory stage of a blood-letting ritual. She sees a Teotihuacan serpent thought to be her ancestor.
- Production date
725 (Gallery label)
Height: 121 centimetres
Weight: 231 kilograms
Width: 85.50 centimetres
Depth: 13.50 centimetres
- Curator's comments
Structure 23 has particular significance since this was the first building to be constructed after a gap of 150 years in the dynastic history of Yaxchilan. It seems that the series of lintels was intended to convey a special message of the re-foundation of the site. Itzaamnaj B'ahlam's building programme throughout the city may have been an attempt to reinforce his lineage and his right to rulership.
Lintel 25. One of a series of three panels from Structure 23 at Yaxchilan originally set above the central doorway. The building is dedicated to Shield Jaguar II's wife, Lady K'ab'al Xook, shown on the bottom right of the panel, conjuring a vision of a Teotihuacan serpent. Some scholars suggest that the serpent on this lintel, and elsewhere, are depictions of an ancestral spirit or founder of the kingdom. The identity of the figure coming out of the serpent's jaws is ambiguous. The inscription names the protagonist as Shield Jaguar II.
The ritual is conducted to commemorate the accession of Shield Jaguar II to the throne. The inscription is reversed, as if to be read in a mirror. This is not common and its true significance is not known.
L. Schele & M.E. Miller, 'The Blood of Kings' (London, Thames & Hudson, 1986)
C. Tate, 'Yaxchilan, The Design of a Maya Ceremonial City' (University of Texas Press, 1992)
C. McEwan, 'Ancient Mexico in the British Museum' (London, The British Museum Press, 1994)
S. Martin and N. Grube, 'Chronicle of the Maya Kings and Queens; Deciphering the Dynasties of the Ancient Maya' (Thames & Hudson, 2000)
- On display (G27)
- Exhibition history
1990 20 Oct-9 Dec, Japan, Tokyo, Setagaya Art Museum, Treasures of the British Museum, cat. no.184
1991 5 Jan-20 Feb, Japan, Yamaguchi, Prefectural Museum of Art, Treasures of the British Museum, cat. no.184
1991 9 Mar-7 May, Japan, Osaka, National Museum of Art, Treasures of the British Museum, cat. no.184
2010 27 March - 18 July, Salem, Peabody Essex Museum, 'Fiery Pool, The Maya and the Mythic Sea'
2010 29 August - 2011, 2 January, Texas, Kimbell Art Museum, 'Fiery Pool, The Maya and the Mythic Sea'
2011 13 February - 18 May, Saint Louis Art Museum, 'Fiery Pool, The Maya and the Mythic Sea'
- 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 Ethno 1886-316 (Compass number)
Previous owner/ex-collection number: 1886 316 (South Kensington Museum No. (Now V&A))