Jade mask from tomb beneath Room 6

Jade Mask

Photo courtesy of Louisa Spottswood
Feb. 18, 1997


"When Folan discovered the tomb, beneath Room 6 of the palace-type superstructure, it contained the skeletal remains of a male, at least 30 years old, lying fully extended on his back. Beneath him were five pottery dishes. Fragments of textiles and stucco, all impregnated with red pigment, were found with the bones.

Among the numerous offerings in the chamber, which included a stingray spine, two pearls, thousands of shell beads, and nine elaborately painted pottery vessels, was an unusually large number of jade items. These include 32 beads, a ring, six earflares, and three mosaic masks. One of the jade masks, of some 170 mosaic pieces, was worn over the buried man's face; another, of 120 pieces, was on his chest; and the third, of 92 pieces, was on his belt. There were also three bluish-colored jade celts, originally suspended from one of the masks, each inscribed with an incised pair of glyphs. Joyce Marcus has been able to read the name and title on one of these glyphs: she gives them as "Long-Lipped Jawbone" and "caan na" (sky house?), which probably identified the tomb's occupant.

The pottery vessels date the tomb to a time before the earliest known historical reference to a Calakmul ruler on the site's monuments (the ruler identified on Stela 43, which was dedicated in A.D. 514). Thus, until further Early Classic texts are discovered, we cannot verify that "Long-Lipped Jawbone" was a ruler (and not some other important elite figure) or determine his potential place in the dynastic sequence."

Robert Sharer, The Ancient Maya, p. 198

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Last update: April 18, 2000