The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Thursday, August 22, 2019

Burial Discovered at Bonampak Building

MEXICO CITY.- The search of adequate conservation of Bonampak mural paintings, located in Chiapas, turned out into the discovery of a crypt under the second room of Templo de las Pinturas (Temple of the Paintings) with rests of a man accompanied with jadeite ornaments and ceramic objects that could be more than 1,300 years old.

The unknown character’s rests could correspond to a war captive such as those represented in La Batalla mural, or a relative of Chaan Muan II, who ruled Bonampak from 776 to 792 of the Common Era.

The discovery results from the multidisciplinary project conducted by the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), through its National Coordination of Archaeology and of Cultural Heritage Conservation (CNCPC), with institutional resources. The objective of the project was to determine features of the soil where the building stands, to implement an optimal method to conserve the Prehispanic paintings.

By using ground penetrating radar (GPR) in the temple’s surface, engineer Jose Ortega detected a void where a funerary crypt was located after excavation.

The burial has been dated towards the end of 8th century, during the government of Chaan Muan II, identified as the last ruler of Bonampak. He ordered the creation of the Temple of the Paintings, integrated by 3 rooms completely decorated with paintings over the throne, walls and vaults.

Archaeologist Alejandro Tovalin Ahumada, director of the excavation, informed that the discovery consists on a 75 centimeters high’ simple funerary crypt, which measures 2.20 by 0.70 meters, and a white stucco-covered vault which is 35 centimeters high.

Inside were found osseous rests of a man with the skull missing: only jawbone was located. At his feet, 2 polychrome dishes were placed, and next to the place of the skull, a perforated alabaster vase was found. According to preliminary studies conducted by physical anthropologist Javier Montes, this man would have been 1.70 meters high and between 35 and 42 years old at the time of death.

Regarding the identity of the buried person, Tovalin specified that none of the objects of the offering have hieroglyphs that provide information, but archaeological material has allowed formulation of 2 hypothesis: The first one indicates he might have been a war captive sacrificed as an offering, which supported by the absence of skull, and the perforated alabaster associated to the knife. The second hypothesis points out to a close relative of Chaan Muan II.

The character was dressed up with a Spondylus shell pectoral; a necklace and 2 bracelets of jadeite beads that sum up 443 stones, being this the burial with more jadeite pieces located until now in Bonampak. The bracelets also have 16 marine shell beads.

A small flint knife was found next to the alabaster vase. Tovalin explained that the perforation of the vessel and the knife by its side indicates the ritual sacrifice of the container, a common practice among Maya peoples.

Several researchers affirm that Templo de las Pinturas was built to display murals that represent a power discourse and Chaan Muan II right to rule, as well as his small son and heir’s. La Batalla mural represents Chaan Muan II war captives and their sacrifice.

Epigraphic and iconographic studies point out to the representation of rituals required by Chaan Muan II heir to access power. To date, no archaeological material has been found that confirms these hypotheses.

“I think paintings refer to a lineage change achieved through a battle; there is a possibility that osseous remains correspond to the leader of the overthrown group.

“Chaan Muan II was part of a different or secondary lineage at Bonampak until the time of the battle, at the Late Classic period: With the help of military and wedlock alliance with Yaxchilan, he overpowered Bonampak. Captives represented in the murals are probably the group that ruled the city”.

A carbon sample associated to the crypt is being analyzed at INAH Radio Carbon Laboratories to determine its date. “These studies, DNA examination, as well as comparison of the recently found skeleton with others found at Bonampak, will determine origin of the individual and a precise date of his burial”.

Lilia Rivero Webber, coordinator of CNCPC, declared that conservation tasks at Bonampak began in 2009, to give maintenance to the artwork. She explained that although different interventions took place in recent years, this is the first time that an interdisciplinary treatment is conducted to understand deterioration mechanisms of the building, provoked by earthquakes in 2005, 2006 and 2007.

“Intervention project involved a complete study of Templo de las Pinturas architecture, and as soon we have diagnosis, we will determine how to treat voids”, she concluded.

Bonampak | Chiapas | Temple of the Paintings |

Today's News

January 12, 2010

MOCA Board of Trustees Names New York Gallerist Jeffrey Deitch as Museum Director

Egypt: New Find Shows Slaves didn't Build Ancient Monuments

Sotheby's to Offer Painting that Sparked Debate and Controversy

Yale University Says Lawsuit by Peru Should be Dismissed

Louvre Museum Reports it had 8.5 Million Visitors in 2009

New Traveling Exhibition Shows Elvis before He was "The King of Rock 'n' Roll"

Museum in Fort Worth will Present Works by Gabriel Acevedo Velarde

Smithsonian Museums Report 30 Million Visits in 2009

Van Gogh's Starry Night Named World's Most Popular Oil Painting of the Decade

Style on Sunset Goes Cutting Edge for the New Year at Bonhams

Everson to Fill Galleries with Color Field Sculptures by Tim Scott

Haus der Kunst to Show "Ed Ruscha: 50 Years of Painting"

New Commission by Mat Collishaw to be Presented at BFI Gallery

Hoang Van Bui, Homefronts III Born Again, at Kiang Gallery

First U.S. Exhibition of Medieval Glass Objects for Daily Use Opens in May

Exhibition Showcases Animated Films from Harvard's Long History with the Practice

"Light of the Sufis: The Mystical Arts of Islam" Opens May 2010

Major Exhibition of Photographs by Timothy H. O'Sullivan Opens at the Smithsonian American Art Museum

Burial Discovered at Bonampak Building

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- Conservation reveals Wellington Collection work was painted by Titian's Workshop

2.- New dinosaur discovered after lying misidentified in university's vaults for over 30 years

3.- Unseen Texas Chainsaw Massacre outtakes and stills sold for a combined $26,880

4.- National gallery reveals conserved Italian altarpiece by Giovanni Martini da Udine

5.- London's Tate Modern evacuated after child falls, teen arrested

6.- Bavarian State Minister of the Arts restitutes nine works of art

7.- Boy thrown from London's Tate Modern is French tourist visiting UK

8.- Child thrown from London gallery has broken spine, legs and arm

9.- £10 million Turner masterpiece may leave British shores

10.- Tourists banned from sitting on Rome's Spanish Steps

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
(1941 - 2019)
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful