New Maya Temple of the Sun God

A fascinating discovery of a temple of the sun god at El Zotz in Guatemala dramatizes the articulation of rulership with the cosmos.  Two things of particular interest strike me most immediately.  The first is the dynamic nature of the architecture, designed to in a sense draw the viewer around the building in rhythm with the arc of the sun.  In this sense, it might well seem that the building itself is not still but rather orbits around an axis.

The second point of interest is the iconoclasm that resulted in the destruction of nose and mouth.  Houston argues that this reflects an understanding of the building of the temple as itself alive, suggesting that we need to revisit episodes of temple destruction as not only opportunities for looting but more significantly as efforts to extirpate the gods themselves.  To leave a community without their gods is presumably to leave them truly bereft, a mortal blow to the very possibility of life and sovereignty.

See video and text here: “Dramatic” New Maya Temple Found, Covered With Giant Faces.

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