Yax Kuk Mo

Yax Kuk Mo from Yehnal Temple, Copan

Although it is somewhat difficult to see the jaguar masks under the chins of the sun gods at Kohunlich, it is much easier to make them out in the imagery of Copan. This photo is from the Yehnal temple at Copan, and may be a portrayal of the founder of the dynasty in the guise of sun god.

The sun god in association with jaguar elements tells us that these images represent the jaguar sun or the sun at night, a powerful supernatural image among the Classic Maya. The ancient Maya believed that each night the sun plunges beneath the earth to began its daily journey through the underworld. It is interesting that the temple of the masks at Kohunlich faces the setting sun.