Lintel 24 from Yaxchilan depicts a night scene of royal bloodletting.
'Lintels 24 and 25, removed at Maudslay's request at the end of the nineteenth century, are on permanent display in the British Museum's Mexican Gallery. Lintel 26, the third in the series, is in the Museo Nacional de Antropología, in Mexico City.
The scene represents a bloodletting ritual performed by the king of Yaxchilán, Itsam Balam ('Shield Jaguar' 681-742), and his wife, Lady K'ab'al Xook (Itzamnaaj Bahlen III). The king holds a torch while his principal wife passes a thorn-studded rope through a hole in her tongue. Scrolls of blood can be seen around her mouth.
The first two glyphs in the text at the top of the lintel indicate the event and the date on which it took place, 24 October, AD 709 (5 Eb, 15 Mak in the maya calendar). The last glyph represents the Emblem Glyph (that is, the city name in Maya hierolglyphs) of Yaxchilán. The text on the left of the panel contains the name and titles of Lady K'ab'al Xook. The lintel has traces of blue, turquoise and red pigment.'
© image Justin Kerr