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We have seen how, before leaving Mayach, Queen Móo caused the erection of a memorial hall that she dedicated to the memory of Prince Coh, her brother and husband; and that in it she had the principal events of his and her life painted in bright colors on the walls of the funeral chamber. Not satisfied with this mark of her love, she had raised over his remains a mausoleum that would be an ornament to any of our modern cemeteries or public squares. (Plate LVII.)
The four sides of the monument were ornamented with
panels, on which were sculptures in mezzo-relievo. (Plate LVIII.) That on the frieze represents a dying warrior on his back, his knees drawn up, the soles of his feet firmly planted on the ground. His head, covered with a helmet, is thrown backward. From his parted lips the breath of life escapes in the shape of a slender flame.1 His posture is, in fact, the same as that given by the Mayas, in those remote ages, to all the statues of their great personages; a position that represented the contour of the Maya Empire as nearly as the human body could be made to assume it. The upper part of the body in this case, instead of being erect, is pictured lying down, the head thrown back, emblematic of the chief of the nation being dead. In his right hand, placed upon his breast, he holds a broken sceptre, composed of three javelins, typical of the three wounds that caused his death, and of the weapons with which they were inflicted. One of the wounds was under the left shoulder-blade. The blow was aimed at the heart from behind, proving that the victim was treacherously murdered. The two others were in the lumbar region. These are indicated in the sculptures by two small holes just above the waist-band of the kilt worn by 1 See Appendix, note xx.
the warrior, and the image of a small arrowhead >, its point directed toward the left shoulder. His left arm is placed across his breast, the left hand resting on the right shoulder. This is a token of respect among the living, as we have already seen; but what can be its meaning when made to be assumed by the dead? Does it signify that this is the attitude of humility in which the souls of the departed must appear before the judgment seat of Yum-cimil, the "god of death; " just as we see, in the Egyptian inscriptions and papyri, the souls when standing before the throne of Osiris in Amenti, waiting to receive their sentence from his mouth? This is very probable, for the same custom existed in Egypt. "The Egyptians," says Sir Gardner Wilkinson, "placed the arms of the mummies extended along the side, the palms inward and resting on the thighs, or brought forward over the groin, sometimes even across the breast; and occasionally one arm in the former, the other in the latter position." Mr. Champollion Figeac, speaking on the same subject, says: "On croisait les mains des femmes sur leur ventre; les bras des hommes restaient pendants sur les côtés; quelquefois la main gauche etait placée sur l'épaule droite; ce bras faisait ainsi écharpe sur la poitrine." The upper end of the sceptre is ornamented with an open dipetalous flower, with a half-opened bud in the centre of the corol. This is significant of the fact that the dead warrior was killed in the flower of life, before he had had time to reach maturity. The lower extremity of said sceptre is carved so as to represent
Sir Gardner Wilkinson, Manners and Customs, vol. iii., chap. xvi.,
Champollion Figeac, L'univers, Egypte, p. 261.
"The women's hands were crossed on the belly; the men's arms remained hanging at the sides; but sometimes the left hand was placed on the right shoulder, the arm across the chest.