Bonampak's unique importance comes from the vivid portrayal of Classic-era court life in its murals -- the finest mural paintings so far found in Middle America.
The murals were discovered by an American, Giles Healy, who was sent to Chiapas in 1944 by the United Fruit Company to make a nature film. Having established a good relationship with the Lacandon, they took him to Bonampak in 1946, which was then overgrown and unknown to archaeologists. Wandering about the site, he saw nothing special until he poked his head into a small temple. Lighting a torch for a better look, he was awestruck by the interior paintings. [Click arrow "7" on the map to see photos of The House of the Murals]
However, Bonampak's slab monuments in intricate bas relief are also quite beautiful and worthy of attention [Click "4" on the map for Stela 1; Stela 2 is "6"].