Stele number 26 from Yaxchilán. Bas-relief.
Mayan culture mastered many arts and sciences. Among them, architecture and sculpture were quite notorious. On the walls of their magnificent buildings they left testimony of many importants facts of their lives. Lintels and steles were often used for that purpose. In the mayan city of Yaxchilán (Green stones in Maya) almost a hundred were found. Most of them in bas-relief, being splendid tokens of the mayan art, amazingly carved without iron tools. Yaxchilán flourished in the classic and post-classic mayan era, from 300 to 900 a.D., when it was abandoned forever. The city was discovered in 17th century by Spaniards but practically unknown for the world until late 19th century. This city is in the heart of the jungle, in the mexican state of Chiapas, close to the Usumacinta river, which is the border with Guatemala. This stele, like the ones that memorialize an event, shows its exact date: 726 a.D. The name of the actors and the date are written with hieroglyphics in the 'T' shape seen above the two men. Both are high rank persons; the one at left, probably a prince. Note the fine hairdress, the plastron made of Jaguar's skin, the round 'jade' ornaments and the bracelet. He is receiving from the man at right, probably a priest, a jaguar's head mask in a ceremony. Notice the cranial deformation of two men. Mayas believed in a concept of personal beauty by having the profile of nose and front forming an angle of 180 or more degrees; so they practiced a cranial deforming in the kids thru years, kind of a 'cranial orthodoncy', to achieve this purpose.
The picture was taken by Juan Voutssás in november 1997 in the mexican National Museum of Anthropology. Kodak stereo camera, kodak gold film, 200 ASA. No flash allowed inside museum, so 1/25th speed and f:3.5 had to be used because of poor illumination. No tripod used. Picture sent to Amateur Photographic Exchange Club (APEC III) on february 1998. (firstname.lastname@example.org)