Anonymous: The death mask of king K'inich Janaab' Pakal I (A.D. 683)


(National Museum of Anthropology and History, Mexico city, Mexico)

Funerary jewelry made by unknown 7th century Mayan artists. K'inich Janaab' Pakal I ('Great Sun Shield') (A.D. 603-683) was the Mayan king ('ajaw') of the city state of B'aakal, now known as Palenque. King Pakal I came to the throne at the age of 12 and became one of the most famous of all Mayan kings. His long reign of 68 years is the longest regal reign in the history of the Americas. Pakal was buried beneath the temple of inscriptions in a coffin which was sealed by a massive carved stone sarcophagus lid. In the coffin was the skeletal remains of the king wearing a jade mask and bead necklaces. For the Maya, jade was far more valuable than gold and was associated with eternity, immortality, life, fertility and power. Death mask from around A.D. 683.


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