Quirigua: Zoomorph G

Zoomorph G at Quirigua W0994: Zoomorph G

The disturbing Zoomorph G (also known as Monument 7 and Zoomorfo G) was dedicated on the 4th November 785AD by king Sky Xul  in honour of his predecessor, the mighty Cauac Sky (K’ak’ Tiliw Chan Yopaat), who gained the city its independence from Copán in 738AD and drastically changed Quiriguá’s fortunes forever. Cauac Sky is also responsible for the city of Quiriguá as it is found today as he rebuilt the city following its independence in the same style and layout as those of Copán whose greatness he was clearly trying to emulate in every way. He reigned for an incredible 60 years which meant his life far exceeded the expectancy of a warrior-king fighting against a far greater city – so it is not surprising that he called himself the Holy Lord of Quiriguá and was believed to hold godly powers.

Zoomorph G, or Monument 7, from Quirigua
Fig W0993: Zoomorph G – © Robin Heyworth
The monument to Cauac Sky’s life is very peculiar. On its right-hand side (fig. W0994) you can see the monstrous claw, which combined with the feline snout suggest the animal is a jaguar – this is also supported by the spots the arms. However, the body shape is far more reminiscent of a crocodile and the spots could equally be scales. Another thought is that it could be a reference to the local poisonous toad, the bufo marinus, which is commonly known as the cane toad. From the mouth of the zoomorphic beast you can see the head of Cauac Sky (K’ak’ Tiliw Chan Yopaat) – who is easily identified by his goatee beard despite the heavy erosion of the face (fig W0993).  The message that this beastly vision was designed to convey is that Cauac Sky was able to take the form of this great monster and and was bestowed with all its magnificent powers. The lengthy glyphic texts you can see across the beast’s back and along its girth in fig. W0994 describe the incredible life and achievements of Cauac Sky. 

 

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