Presentation of Captives to a Maya Ruler

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Illustration

by FA2010
published on 08 July 2012

This carved limestone relief, dated 23 August 783 CE, depicts three scribes being presented as prisoners to a Maya ruler. The captives are identified as scribes by the stick-bundle the first one holds (the traditional implements of scribes) and by their headdresses. Scribes were highly prized as prisoners as they were the ones who recorded the great deeds of the ruler. When a ruler was defeated the fingers of his scribes were broken. The fact that the piece is signed by the artist suggests the importance of the event depicted, the status of the artist, or both, as Maya art is rarely signed. The relief is presently in the Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, Texas.

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