The Medieval World, C. 400–1300

Pre-Columbian America

What is the Portrait of Lord Pakal?

Lord Pakal was a powerful Mayan ruler from the ancient city of Palenque (in modern day Chiapas in Mexico) between 615 and 683 C.E. Lord Pakal and his descendants commissioned a great deal of monumental art and architecture in this Mayan capital. At his death, Lord Pakal was laid to rest in a sarcophagus; in his tomb archaeologists found a portrait of the ruler as a young man with a crown of jade and flowers. He is thought to be represented according to Mayan ideals of beauty, which emphasize a long, sloping face and skull, and full lips. Traces of red paint indicate that the piece used to be painted, as was most Mayan sculpture.

This Mayan sculpture depicts the Late Classic ruler Lord Pakal and was made in the seventh century in Palenque in southern Mexico.


This is a web preview of the "The Handy Art History Answer Book" app. Many features only work on your mobile device. If you like what you see, we hope you will consider buying. Get the App