Maya stela (plural stelae). Top photo is of Stela B, Copan
For the ancient Maya, a stela (plural stelae) was used as a means by which kings glorified their deeds and their divine kingship, used to record calendrical rounds of important events, and other public propaganda. They could be carved in low relief, high relief, or were flat and painted on. The tallest in Belize is Stela 14 from Nim Li Punit, which is just over 30ft tall, and is the second tallest ever made by the ancients. The tallest in the Maya world is Stela E at Quirigua, which is 35 ft tall. Erections of stela waned with the close of the Classic Period.
Photographs courtesy Institute of Archaeology (NICH)
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