View of a large stone carving at the ancient Maya site of Quirigua located near the banks of the Motagua river in the department of Izabal, Guatemala. The photograph shows the south face and east side of a carved stone zoomorph known by archaeologists as Zoomorph P, as it was first described by Alfred Maudslay in his seminal publication of the Quirigua site in his multi-volume Archaeology (1889-1902). More recent scholarship dates the zoomorph (also known as Monument 16) to 126.96.36.199.0, 4 Ahau 13 Ceh (Maya calendar), or A.D. 795 in the standard Western (Gregorian) calendar. Identified over the years as various different animals, the carving is now understood by scholars to represent a Cosmic Monster with a mountain on its back. The monument was created during the reign of Sky Xul and marked the close of an era in the Maya calendar. It was one of a number of stelae and zoomorphs erected at Quirigua as part of a complex building programme which took place during the Late Classic period, and whose primary aim was to legitimate and reinforce the power of the ruler.
Due to the nature of these images, prints will reproduce any signs of age, wear or damage that occurred before they were archived by the Pitt Rivers Museum.
March - May 1883
Stone carving (Zoomorph P) at Maya site of Quirigua, Guatemala