Seated majestically on a tall platform throne, this Maya ruler once gazed down on a scene of sacrifice. He is adorned with jewelry. A huge ornamental feathered headdress forms his crown. This figure was part of a stela, a monumental free-standing stone, erected to commemorate the accession of a leader called Ruler 4 to the throne of Piedras Negras, an ancient Maya city located in present-day Guatemala. He is referred to as Ruler 4 because his name remains untranslated, and he was the fourth in a dynastic lineage of kings. This 28-year-old ruler holds the date 4 Ahau from the Maya calendar in his left hand. The Maya achieved great skill in art and architecture. The expressive face of Ruler 4, as well as his headdress, hands, and jewelry, have been carved with remarkable sensitivity. The king's folded legs demonstrate an understanding of the advanced art techniques of perspective and foreshortening.


Cataloguing data may change with further research.

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Artist
Maya
Title
Seated Ruler from Stela 11
Piedras Negras Stela 11
Date
731 AD
Medium
Limestone with traces of paint
Dimensions
Overall: 53 3/16 × 26 3/4 × 9 5/16 in. (135.1 × 67.9 × 23.7 cm)
Credit Line

Museum purchase

Current Location
The Caroline Wiess Law Building
205M WIESS GALLERY
Accession Number
68.51
Classification
Sculpture
Provenance

[Unknown Mexican dealer] [1]; [Stendahl Galleries, Los Angeles, by at least 1964–1968] [2]; purchased by MFAH, 1968. [1] Letter from Stendahl Galleries dated April 16, 1968. [2] Loaned to MFAH April, 1964–1968.