Mack Prioleau on the Great Mexican Adventure Part 2
Mack continues his tour of ancient Mexico by taking a (virtual) trip to Bonampak, Chiapas. If you would like to read his post on the Temples of Inscription pyramid in Palenque, Chiapas, please see “Mack Prioleau on the Great Mexican Adventure.”
The Ancient Wonders of Mexico: Bonampak, Chiapas
Good day, everyone! It’s Mack Prioleau once more. I would like to pick up where we left off on our Mexican adventure. In my previous post, I mentioned that discovering those parts of Mexico where the ancient Mayan civilization was believed to have settled for a time is on my bucket list. We’ve gone on a short but sweet virtual trip to the Temple of Inscriptions pyramid in Palenque, Chiapas. And since we’re already in Chiapas, I figured that we should explore more of it in our quest to find further evidence of the Mayan peoples’ settlement in this part of Mexico.
Today, let’s explore Bonampak.
Located about thirty kilometers off the southern part of Yaxchilan, Bonampak boasts of a small but rather important archeological site for those looking to discover more about the culture and rituals of the ancient Mayan civilization.
It may not have a pyramid as high and large as the Temple of Inscriptions in Palenque but it is still a site that is worth a side trip if you’re already in Chiapas.
Much of the archeological site has been closed off to the public, but you can still visit the Temple of Murals which, in my opinion, should be your focus on a trip to Bonampak anyway. By the way, Bonampak translates to painted wall, which right there and then, tells you what you can expect from a visit to the temple.
Structure 1 is where you can view well-preserved frescoes depicting the life of the Mayans. This is where you can see a variation of their oft-depicted life of mysticism, peace, and wisdom. If what you’ve heard so far about the Mayans is that they are a peaceful people, prepared to be surprised when you look at the murals.
There are three rooms open for viewing here, and each one tells its own story. In the first room, you can see paintings that depict a story of a royal gathering. The pictures show a child being blessed by the Bonampak ruler Yajaw Chaan Muwan, acknowledging him as the heir to the throne.
In the second room, you fall witness to the violent side of this ancient civilization. The paintings depict a battle where prisoners were tortured, killed, and presented as human sacrifices before the most important members of the royal court.
Finally in the third room, you will see a picture that strongly contrasts the battle and torture scene you saw in Room 2. The scene depicted here shows people in the midst of merrymaking. You can see the people dancing as if to celebrate a victory after a battle. There are three individuals in the paintings that will immediately catch your attention because they are wearing fine garments and elaborate headdresses.
Knowing all of these now, who wouldn’t want to take that trip to Bonampak?
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