Zoomorph P: a masterpiece of ancient art. Located at the Maya site of Quiriguá, Guatemala.
Dedicated in AD 795, this extraordinarily carved boulder stands as a testament to the skill and beauty of Maya bas-relief sculpture during the late Classic Period.
A “zoomorph” is a term often used in art history, which essentially refers to something that has the form or attributes of an animal. In this example, the work is shaped as a mythical animal: the Cosmic Monster, a waterbeast which inhabited the Underworld’s primordial sea. This work is also thought to represent third stone of Creation -as indicated by the various symbols of aquatic imagery employed. Small images of the rain god Chaac are visible around the mouth of the waterbeast, and water is poured over the throne by numerous mythological animals. This monument was created during the reign of Sky Xul, commemorating the end of an era in the Maya calendar. Dressed in ceremonial attire, Sky Xul sits in the mouth of the Cosmic Monster.