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Chichén Itzá: Chac mask on Temple of the Three Lintels


This closeup view of a "Chac mask" shows basic elements of the Puuc architectural style which prevailed in northern Yucatán during the Late Classic period of about 600-950 AD. The upper façade of this building, the Temple of the Three Lintels in the southern part of Chichen Itza, is covered with a limestone masonry veneer made of prefabricated mosaic elements, many with low relief carvings. These are typical of the Puuc style, named for sites in the hill or puuc zone of Yucatán. Some structures at Chichén Itzá such as the Iglesia and Monjas are literally covered with mosaic elements, while on others (including this building and the Red House) they are restricted to the upper facade.

The most prominent element seen here is the protruding, stepped-fret "nose" of the Chac mask on a corner, representing the Maya rain god Chac. He probably represents the same deity as God B in the codices, shown with a long nose.

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[Fig.1: Chac mask on the Temple of the Three Lintels at Chichén Itzá (photo: Athena Review).]

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