Lintel 1

Yaxchilan: Structure 33 Lintel 1 [January 3, 2004]

"The image of women holding bundles during royal accessions appears more at Yaxchilan than at other cities. On six Yaxchilan lintels women hold bundles on the occasions of accession, Period Ending, and accession anniversaries of ancestral rulers. At Yaxchilan and elsewhere, the bundle is used glyphically as a metaphor for accession.

Merle Greene Robertson became interested in the possible contents of the mysterious bundles while making rubbings in Yaxchilan. In a subsequent paper, she suggested that the bundles contained the bloodletting bowls seen on other monuments, the bloodletting equipment, and hallucinogenic mushrooms. Since then, a tomb containing the remains of a bundle has been opened. In the excavations in the Mundo Perdido area of Tikal, fragments of pigment from cloth were attached to two cache vessels, placed lip to lip, the shapes similar to the Yaxchilan bloodletting bowls. The vessels contained, among other things, obsidian blades, snail shells, snake skeletons, and turtle shells. If this Tikal bundle was typical of other bundles, it can be assumed that the bundles were actually cloth-wrapped vessels filled with bloodletting paraphernalia and other ritual objects. The presence of hallucinogens has not yet been confirmed."

Carolyn E. Tate, Yaxchilan: The Design of a Maya Ceremonial City, p. 68