The jade burial objects which adorned the body of Maya ruler Pakal the Great.
The mortuary crypt of the Temple of the Inscriptions at Palenque is perhaps the most complex mausoleum from the Classic period. It was designed to contain the mortal remains of K’inich Hanab Pakal, also known as Pakal the Great. The sarcophagus contained the body wrapped in a funerary bundle covered with cinnabar, a highly toxic, red-colored mineral. His body was adorned with many jade objects that are displayed here on a modern reproduction of Pakal’s body. The mortuary mask, incrusted with more than 200 tiny carved polished and perfectly assembled bits of jade mosaic, is an extraordinary masterpiece.
The proportions of the mask and the skull are the same, so it is clearly a faithful portrait of the ruler in life Pakal wore a diadem on his forehead and ear spools as well as a complex pectoral of tubular and squash-shaped beads. His hands held a sphere and a cube, as well as rings on each of his fingers. All of this finery was fashioned of jade.
The green color of jade suggests a relationship with the agricultural cycle and the annual, renovation of nature. With his jade mask, Pakal was transformed into the Young Maize God, who awaits his opportunity to return as the new vegetation to continue the annual corn cycle. This significance is reinforced by the figurine placed below to the right, which represents the patron god of the month known as Pax, mentioned in the inscriptions as te’, “tree” alluding to Pakal as the seed that augured the illustrious promise of the ruling lineage.
The texts and archaeology suggest that Pakal passed away before the completion of the Temple of the Inscriptions, a task that fell to his eldest son, Kan Balam II. Many late inscriptions refer to Pakal as “the lord of the pyramid”, which implies that the construction of this building was an event of particular significance for Palenque. (x)
The Temple of Seti I at Abydos, Egypt.
This temple consists of seven sanctuaries lined up in a row, each of which are dedicated to a different deity (the southernmost of these honours 19th Dynasty Pharaoh Seti I himself). The purpose for the construction of this building was to act as a funerary shrine for Seti I, as confirmed by the name of the building: "The house of millions of years of the King Men-Ma’at-Re [Seti I], who is contented at Abydos." Although he was actually buried in the Valley of the Kings at Thebes, Seti followed the royal tradition of constructing a second funerary complex at Abydos -the cult centre of the Egyptian god Osiris.
The bas-reliefs of this temple are some of the best persevered from ancient Egypt, and many retain the original paint work. A classical, traditional style is evoked by the raised relief decoration carved under Seti I on fine white limestone.
From north to south, the temple is dedicated to the following Egyptian deities: Horus, Isis, Osiris, Amen-Re, Re-Horakhty, and Ptah. Seti restoring the worship of the traditional gods of Egypt after the Amarna period could explain this combined dedication. The aftermath of the Amarna period is also reflected in the "king’s gallery". This is a rather selective list of legitimate pharaohs from Egyptian history, with the names of Akhenaten, Smenkhkare and Tutankhamen excluded -as though erasing their reigns from recorded history.
The first photo was taken by Irene Soto, and the rest by Kyera Giannini, all courtesy the New York University Institute for the Study of the Ancient World via Flickr. When writing up this post, Kathryn A. Bard’s Encyclopaedia of the Archaeology of Ancient Egypt (2005) was of use.
The intricate golden torcs of the Stirling Hoard.
The Stirling Hoard consists of four golden Iron Age torcs (a type of necklace) which date to between 300 and 100 BCE.
These were found by metal detectorist David Booth near Blair Drummond, Scotland: “I parked up and got the metal detector out. There was an area of flat ground behind the car, and I thought, I’ll just scan this first, before I head out into the field. Literally about seven steps behind where I had parked, I found them." This hoard has been valued at £462,000, and is one of the most significant discoveries of Iron Age metalwork in Scotland.
Kneeling archer from the Chinese Terracotta Army, 3rd century BCE.
It is one kind of the armored infantryman. It was unearthed from the center of the archer formation, which is located northeast of Pit 2. The pose of both hands evidences that this figure held one crossbow originally. Altogether 160 kneeling archers were found in Pit 2.