The Maya erected stone slabs like this sculpture to commemorate historic anniversaries and important cycles of their calendar. This miniature version presents a standing figure whose swirl-eye and frontal shark tooth identify him as the rain god Chahk, or a human impersonator of that important deity. The large serpent held by Chahk represents a conduit to the supernatural realm. From the snake’s open mouth at the top of the stela emerges the head of an ancestor or deity. The upper halves of three humans tumbling downward in front of Chahk may be the penance offered to make the serpent-conduit appear, as suggested by one of the few hieroglyphs at the left and the bottom of the monument that can be read.
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Before Cortés: Sculpture of Middle America (September 30, 1970 - January 3, 1971)