Rituals and Beliefs focuses on the scene from a plaster cast taken of a stone lintel from the doorway of a temple in the city of Yaxchilan, now in modern day Mexico, and dating from 709AD.

The images depict a blood-letting ritual being performed by Lady K'ab'al Xook and her husnabd King Shield Jaguar. Lady K'ab'al Xook can be seen pulling a rope of thorns through her tongue in order to collect blood in a bowl filled with bark paper. Both figures are wearing jade and obsidian jewellery and dressed in resplendent costumes made fo fur and elaborate fabrics. 

Such rituals were a way in which rulers connected to powerful Mayan gods while at the same time reinforcing their right to rule. The session aims to put such practices into context and reflect on how rituals of all descriptions are part of what it is to be human. View the PowerPoint



Visit our website for more details and teacher's resources