Lamanai: Stela 9

Lamanai, Stela 9

Dec. 30, 1997 (photo 3 of 5)

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"Lord Smoking Shell's head emerges from an open-mouthed serpent headdress which is decorated with small plaques of jade or shell. The lower jaw of the serpent [not shown in this picture] forms a chin strap...The serpent's eye on Lamanai Stela 9 is raised slightly above the plane of the headdress and has an uneven roughened surface to which something may have been attached, perhaps obsidian inlays like those in the serpent eyes on the Temple of Quetzalcoatl at Teotihuacan.

The headress carries two important royal emblems. A small "jester god" is attached to the ruler's forehead just below the upper jaw of the serpent. This motif may be repeated by the large curving triangular element at the top of the headdress. Schele (1974:42) has shown that the jester god can substitute for ahaw and marks rulers throughout the Classic Period."

Dorie Reents-Budet, The Iconography of Lamanai Stela 9, Center for Maya Research, December 1988