Uxmal, back of House of the Governor

Rear design of Governor's Palace

The frieze on the sides and back of the Governor's Palace is much simpler than the design on the front of the building. Only three motifs are used: volutes spiraling in clockwise and counterclockwise directions, cross-hatch mat patterns, and stacks of Chac masks.


Uxmal, Photo of detail, House of Governor

The west (back) of the Governor's Palace shows an almost identical transverse vault as its counterpart on the front, and the quality of the masonry remains superb.

About the masonry, Jeff Kowalski writes: "Not only is the House of the Governor magnificent in size and form, but it has superlatively finished masonry. The wall facing-stones and boot shaped vault stones are all expertly cut, pecked, and ground smooth, while the cut-stone mosaic facade elements possess a sharpness of detail not found in earlier Maya architecture."

Kowalski, House of the Governor, p. 239


Uxmal, House of the Governor detail

Vertical stacks of Chac masks contrast with the diagonal placement of masks on the front of the building, where only the only vertical mask stacks appear on corners. This give a more static feel to the rear of the building. Since the designs on the rear and sides of the building were meant to be seen primarily from distant view points, the greater simplicity of the rear contributes to more easily discernable patterns.


Uxmal, House of the Governor detail

This wider view of the rear frieze gives a better idea of its simplified design, consisting only of cross-hatch mat patterns, volutes spiraling in mirror reflections of each other, and Chac masks arranged in vertical stacks of five.