Journal of Undergraduate Research


Teotihuacan, Maya culture, Stela 7, Piedras Negras




Comparative Arts and Letters


This project was inspired by the Maya monument known as Stela 7, from Piedras Negras, Guatemala (shown at right). This stela, or upright stone carving, portrays a ruler of Piedras Negras wearing a war headdress. The headdress is Maya in style, but contains an element, the Trapeze and Ray motif, that appears to have been adapted from the Central Mexican culture of Teotihuacan, which by that point had ceased to exist. Teotihuacan was a very large city situated in Central Mexico. In AD 378, Teotihuacan invaded the nearunconquerable city state of Tikal and imposed a new ruling dynasty. From that point on, Teotihuacan continued to expand its influence into the Maya heartland, affecting political relations and art, even after the city itself crumbled. This research focuses on the appearances of the Trapeze and Ray motif within the corpus of Maya art and its implications for Mesoamerican relations.