Oswaldo Chinchilla, during his lecture at the UFM
Fotos por Roxana Valls

The sarcophagus of king Pacal, at Palenque is one of the most important monuments of Mayan art.  The epigraphs that cover the top and sides of the monument show central aspects of the Mayan kings destiny after death and, in general, of the classic Mayan cosmology.  Oswaldo Chinchilla, curator of the Popol Vuh Museum of the Francisco Marroquín University, gave a lecture on that last April 27th, 2006.

The cover shows the transition of king Janahb’ Pakal towards death and the apotheosis, while the sides represent his ancestors, who are reborn as trees of different kinds.

Chinchilla made an analysis of the epigraphy that covers the sarcophagus stands, by no doubt the least known elements of the monument, not interpreted until now. The identification of these epigraphies as noble characters, transformed into celestial bodies, allow new hypothesis development on the structure symbolism and the classic Mayan knowledge of death.

The Popol Vuh Museum curator has a Ph.D. at the Vanderbilt University; and is author of several books and articles on pre-Hispanic archeology, iconography and writing.