Stela B

Copan: Stela B [January 9, 2004]

"The western side of Stela B confronts the viewer with the awe-inspiring image of the face and persona of the somber spirit who lives in the mountain of creation. The beast's deeply furrowed forehead rises to a cleft with steep sides and scrolled apertures.

An ancestral figure is seated in the base of the cleft, his legs crossed, leaning slightly to his right, and seeming to speak with authority and advice as he offers a scepter or short staff he holds in his hand. His headdress and costume differ from those of the ancestral spirits on the front and side surfaces: he wears a hemispherical hat that is wider than his body, set atop a turban and ornamented with a pair of deity heads. A cape and bar pectoral cover his shoulders, and rich jade ornaments decorate his ankles and wrists.

He seems to hold a prime position among the ancestors who participate in 18-Rabbits dream quest; he is the chief, the patriarch, and must represent a founder from the dynasty's remote past. Given the mythic context of the vision Stela B celebrates, one might even speculate that he represents an ancestor from the time of genesis. Just as the Quiche Maya who composed the Popol Vuh revered the first humans as the founders of their greatest lineages, so 18-Rabbit's monument may hearken back to some mythic forebearer from the beginning of time. A founder far earlier than Yax K'uk' Mo', the seated figure in the cleft forehead of the holy mountain may be the Adam of his descendant's ruling line, enthroned amid the verdure of an ancient Maya Garden of Eden."

Elizabeth Newsome, Trees of Paradise and Pillars of the World: The Serial Stela Cycle of "18-Rabbit-God K," King of Copan, p. 137