Pakal Sarcophagus, Palenque, Mexico 1990
K'inich Janaab' Pakal, Palenque,
In his tomb in Palenque, K'inich Janaab' Pakal, ruler of that Maya polity located in the Chiapas of Southern Mexico from 603AD to 683 AD, uses Maya symbolism to explain his crossing from this world into the next. Pakal’s sarcophagus cover has iconography showing him falling into a cosmic cave. The importance of caves to the Maya as revealed in the Popol Vuh, is repeated here to give Pakal a map for a successful journey through the earth to the sky above. At the journey’s completion, Pakal was reborn as a celestial body.