Monte Alban
676 × 1200 Monte Alban

Stele 9

Stele 9 is located at the foot of the stairs that lead up to the Northern Platform and back down the Sunken Patio. It still hasn’t been deciphered, but its message must surely be connected to the Sunken Patio and the festivals and rituals that would have taken place within it as thousands of people would have had to walk past it in order to enter the festive arena. The Western face, to the left, depicts an elaborately dressed priest with a speech bubble and a large amount of text below (presumably a transcript of the priest’s teachings). The southern face, to the right, has a character face on with wide eyes and mouth agog. Like the Egyptians, Mesoamerican portraits are almost always in profile, however, images of gods and lords of the underworld are often front facing because the round owlish eyes and open mouth are indicative of the ability to see in the dark and therefore traverse the underworld and to feast on blood, specifically hearts (it is thought). © Robin Heyworth, taken on 27th December 2001