Palenque- Yaxchilán – Bonampak

 

 

Yaxchilán

 

Yaxchilan  is an ancient Maya city located on the bank of the Usumacinta River in what is now the state of Chiapas, Mexico. In the Late Classic Period Yaxchilan was one of the most powerful Maya states along the course of the Usumacinta, with Piedras Negras as its major rival. Architectural styles in subordinate sites in the Usumacinta region demonstrate clear differences that mark a clear boundary between the two kingdoms.

 

 

Yaxchilan was a large center, important throughout the Classic era, and the dominant power of the Usumacinta River area. It dominated such smaller sites as Bonampak, and had a long rivalry with Piedras Negras and at least for a time with Tikal; it was a rival of Palenque, with which Yaxchilan warred in 654.

 

 

 

he site is particularly known for its well-preserved sculptured stone lintels set above the doorways of the main structures. These lintels, together with the stelae erected before the major buildings, contain hieroglyphic texts describing the dynastic history of the city.

 

 

 

 

Bonampak

 

Bonampak is an ancient Maya archaeological site in the Mexican state of Chiapas. The site is approximately 30 km (19 mi) south of the larger site of Yaxchilan, under which Bonampak was a dependency, and the border with Guatemala. While the site is not overly impressive in terms of spatial or architectural size, it is well known for a number of murals, most especially those located within Structure 1 (The Temple of the Murals). The construction of the site’s structures dates to the Early Classic period (c. AD 580 to 800).

 

 

 

What is often referred to as The Temple of the Murals (Structure 1) is a long narrow building with 3 rooms atop a low-stepped pyramid base. The interior walls preserve the finest examples of classic Maya painting, otherwise known only from pottery and occasional small faded fragments. Through a fortunate accident, rainwater seeped into the plaster of the roof in such a way as to cover the interior walls with a layer of slightly transparent calcium carbonate. Shortly after Healy’s discovery the Carnegie Institution sent an expedition to Bonampak.

 

 

The walls were painted with kerosene which made the layer over the paintings temporarily transparent, then the murals were extensively and completely photographed and duplicate paintings were made by two different artists. In 1996 a team from Yale University began The Bonampak Documentation Project, which included making an even more detailed study, photographic record, and reproductions of the murals.

 

 



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