Balamku Sign

INAH Sign at Balamku [January 4, 2003]

"Besides illustrating the opposite and complementary aspects of the underworld, Balamkú's frieze compares dynastic and solar cycles. The king raises from the earth monster's maw, just as the Sun emerges from the Earth's mouth. The ruler's death is seen as if it were a sunset, when he falls into the monster's mouth.

A double emanation is illustrated: an amphibian arises from the earth monster's cleft, and from its mouth the king emerges. The large masks and jaguars express the wealth of the earth, and the amphibian assures transition between these two worlds. Simultaneously this motif signifies glorification of the kingdom and the demonstration of its earthly origin and its nexus to fertility.

The frieze indicates the nature and function of the building where it belongs: the upper level corresponds to the earth's surface, and the substructure is the underworld. Therefore, when someone enters through one of the building's doors, it is as if they were penetrating the underworld."