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Izamal, Yucatán: Mask of Kinich Ahau


This large stucco mask, found on a pyramid at Izamal by Stephens and Catherwood in 1841, represents the Maya Sun God, Kinich Ahau. A provincial capital in the Late Postclassic, Izamal had a long series of prehistoric settlements dating back to the Preclassic.

The Late Classic and Postclassic center contained several large pyramids, dedicated both to Kinich Ahau and to Itzamna, "Lizard House," the patron deity of Mayan learning and writing. The site is currently undergoing restoration.

Today the town has a large colonial center which includes a monastery built by the Franciscan architect Juan de Mérida between 1553 and 1561.

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[Fig.1: Catherwood's drawing of the Kinich Ahau mask at Izamal (Stephens and Catherwood 1843).]

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