Stela B

Stela B

"Stela B stands north of Stela 4 in the alignment of sculptures on the western side of the plaza, in close proximity to Stela C. 18-Rabbit appears in the iconography of its eastern surface disguised as the ax-wielding executioner Chac, a god associated with Venus as Evening Star.

The monument portrays him standing within the portal of the underworld, depicted as the great yawning maw of a witz monster whose blunt snout rears above his head and whose lower teeth are bared at the king's feet.

[Stela B] confronts the viewer with one of the most splendid portraits of his series.

18-Rabbit wears a high turban of wound strips of cloth that is characteristic costume for Copan's ruling house.

The god's diadem of cut shell rises from the front of the turban, and his shell beard is suspended over the king's face and chest. "

Elizabeth Newsome, Trees of Paradise and Pillars of the World: The Serial Stela Cycle of "18-Rabbit-God K," King of Copan, p. 137


Stela B

Stela B

"One of the most intriguing elements of Stela B's iconography is the proliferating foliation that has begun to germinate around the king's body and from the eyes, ears, and heads of the stacked mountain masks.

The plants are shown at the moment of their mystical rebirth; they will soon swarm over the entire monument, converting the sacred mountain into a tower of living maize.

On the stela's front surface, tendrils of plant growth have sprouted from the king's own body, rising as stalks that flare above his headdress, and terminating in small anthropomorphic heads that represent the maize god, or perhaps the first newly created humans."

Elizabeth Newsome, Trees of Paradise and Pillars of the World: The Serial Stela Cycle of "18-Rabbit-God K," King of Copan, p. 140


Stela B

"Paralleling the rite's practical application as a prayer for earthly abundance is the mythic message it conveys, which relates to the sacred character of 4 Ahau as the day of cosmic rebirth.

As they conjure the growing plants from the earth, the spirits of 18-Rabbit's forefathers both renew the gods' original gift of maize and embody the spiritual link between the living Maya and their ancestors made from corn.

18-Rabbit's offerings may be viewed as a petition to his ancestors to generate a fruitful new world for his people, to mediate between the mythic past and the new cycle that will begin on 4 Ahau.

The actions of his ancestors bridge past and present time, transcending the boundary that separates the community of their living descendant from the domain of the gods.

Under their spell, the enchantment of the earth begins anew, just as the gods first awakened the vital energies of its life-giving plants at the beginning of time."

Elizabeth Newsome, Trees of Paradise and Pillars of the World: The Serial Stela Cycle of "18-Rabbit-God K," King of Copan, p. 141


Stela B

"The western side of Stela B confronts the viewer with the awe-inspiring image of the face and persona of the somber spirit who lives in the mountain of creation. The beast's deeply furrowed forehead rises to a cleft with steep sides and scrolled apertures.

An ancestral figure is seated in the base of the cleft, his legs crossed, leaning slightly to his right, and seeming to speak with authority and advice as he offers a scepter or short staff he holds in his hand. His headdress and costume differ from those of the ancestral spirits on the front and side surfaces: he wears a hemispherical hat that is wider than his body, set atop a turban and ornamented with a pair of deity heads. A cape and bar pectoral cover his shoulders, and rich jade ornaments decorate his ankles and wrists.

He seems to hold a prime position among the ancestors who participate in 18-Rabbits dream quest; he is the chief, the patriarch, and must represent a founder from the dynasty's remote past.

Given the mythic context of the vision Stela B celebrates, one might even speculate that he represents an ancestor from the time of genesis.

Just as the Quiche Maya who composed the Popol Vuh revered the first humans as the founders of their greatest lineages, so 18-Rabbit's monument may hearken back to some mythic forebearer from the beginning of time.

A founder far earlier than Yax K'uk' Mo', the seated figure in the cleft forehead of the holy mountain may be the Adam of his descendant's ruling line, enthroned amid the verdure of an ancient Maya Garden of Eden."

Elizabeth Newsome, Trees of Paradise and Pillars of the World: The Serial Stela Cycle of "18-Rabbit-God K," King of Copan, p. 137