Stele made in bas-relief on limestone. It depicts a character with a cranial deformity, richly attired with wide bracelets, a necklace, a tubular earring with round pendants and an adornment on the nose bridge. He has a wide ribbon that ties his hair at the nape and a feather headdress. He wears a tasselled skirt with a sash and he is sitting on a throne that assumes the shape of a fantastical character. This piece constitutes one of the carved bas-reliefs which supported the throne of Palenque, in one of the Palace’s Central Patio rooms. The carving portrays one of the four Bacabs or gods that, according to Mayan mythology, support the Sky over the Earth. It is identifiable as such by the net that ties his hair. He is seated on the head of an Imix monster. In the stele, there is also an inscription with six glyphs, which refer to King Pakal’s mother, Lady K’uk. Known as “Stele of Madrid”, this piece was acquired by Antonio del Río during the excavation performed in 1787 in the city of Palenque. This excavation, undertaken under the patronage of the Spanish Crown, was the first one done in America, following a scientific intervention method and recording of the information through reports and drawings.


  • Title: Stele of Madrid
  • Date: 650[ca]
  • Provenance: Mexico
  • Type: Sculpture
  • External Link: CERES
  • Medium: Piedra caliza
  • Photographer: Joaquín Otero Úbeda
  • Cultural context: Maya Civilization

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