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Muwaan Bahlam as captive impersonating jaguar deity


Not on view

According to the inscription on his belly, this unfortunate warrior, Muwaan Bahlam, was captured on September 7, 695. By recording this high-ranking prisoner’s name on the monument, the king of Tonina, who commissioned these reliefs, highlighted his own victory and cast his triumph as analogous to the deeds of deities. Muwaan Bahlam was likely killed in a sacrificial ritual where he was compelled to impersonate the powerful jaguar god, reenacting that deity’s defeat.

Muwaan Bahlam como cautivo que personifica a una deidad jaguar
Altar Rojo, Monumento 180, Toniná, Chiapas, México
ca. 700 d. C.

Según se lee en la inscripción sobre su vientre, este desafortunado guerrero, Muwaan Bahlam, fue capturado el 7 de septiembre de 695 d. C. El rey de Toniná mandó anotar el nombre de este prisionero en el monumento para presumir su victoria y comparar su triunfo con las proezas de los dioses. Es muy probable que Muwaan Bahlam haya muerto en un ritual de sacrificio donde se le obligó a encarnar y representar la derrota del poderoso dios jaguar.

Muwaan Bahlam as captive impersonating jaguar deity, Sandstone, Maya

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Secretaría de Cultura–Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia (INAH), Mexico, reproduction authorized by INAH; photo by Jorge Perez de Lara