UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Inaugural art of Bird Jaguar IV : rewriting history at Yaxchilan Bardsley, Sandra Eleanor


Monumental art of the Maya incorporates figural imagery and hieroglyphic texts to document dynastic and mythical history. One particular monument tells us that near the end of April in 752 A.D., Bird Jaguar IV was inaugurated as ruler of the Mayan city now known as Yaxchilan. Investigation of his sculptural programmes reveals a multiplicity of innovative solutions for Bird Jaguar's unparalleled problems in validating a tenuous claim to rulership of Yaxchilan. It appears that in order to compensate for his insufficient genealogical claim, Bird Jaguar fabricated a series of ritual events which proclaimed his political legitimacy. This study examines the intended integration of two parallel systems of communication: the visual and hieroglyphic languages of the Maya. Analysis shows how Bird Jaguar's artists presented symbolic references which manipulated the past history, justified the current history, and established the future political history of Yaxchilan.

Item Media

Item Citations and Data


For non-commercial purposes only, such as research, private study and education. Additional conditions apply, see Terms of Use https://open.library.ubc.ca/terms_of_use.