Monday, July 23, 2012

Temple of the Night Sun

In El Zotz, a second-rank Maya center, they built a temple that expressed their intention to join the top tier of city states:
Some 1,600 years ago, the Temple of the Night Sun was a blood-red beacon visible for miles and adorned with giant masks of the sun god as a shark, blood drinker, and jaguar. . . .
The sides of the temple are decorated with 5-foot-tall (1.5-meter-tall) stucco masks showing the face of the sun god changing as he traverses the sky over the course of a day.
The shark mask (above) represents the sun rising from the Caribbean; it set in the west as the jaguar. Archaeologist Stephen Houston, lead excavator, thinks that the temple expresses the connection between the sun and royal power. The sun masks were painted red, to make them stand out more.

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