de young stela

This stela was purchased by the de Young museum in San Francisco in 1999. According to the museum, the stela’s origins are unknown. “It could not be identified by site, epigraphy, or style, and its imagery represented a blend of elements from works found in both Guatemala and Mexico,” said the museum in a statement. “This fact was corroborated by the many key art historians, archaeologists, and epigraphers whom we subsequently contacted.”

The relief appears to depict a standing female ruler. A snake wraps around her body, and out of its head appears the deity K’awil. This is the iconography of the vision serpent. Dates on the sculpture give the dates March 13, 761, and August 10, 760. Both the dates and the style suggest an origin in the southern Maya lowlands.