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Mayan Stela J of Copan (CPN 20)

“The stela celebrates a period end in January 702 AD. It is the inaugural monument of Ruler 13 Waxaklajuun Ub’aah K’awiil. This first monument had a very particular and almost unique style, which made it stand out among the monuments of Copán. On Stela J there is a list of period ends in sequence, this list has been interpreted as a prophetic text.

The use of a petate-shaped design to place the inscription on one of the faces of the stela, as well as the absence of a portrait of the ruler, a known tradition for previous sovereigns, made Stela J a monument that broke with the sculptural tradition known up to now.

The absence of a portrait of the young ruler could be associated with the respect the young ruler had for his predecessor, who was by far the most important ruler the city had ever known; Due to this, perhaps Ruler 13 preferred to restrict the use of his image while the funerary sanctuary of his predecessor was completed, a fact that would occur only 8 years later” (Garay 2017: 254).