Rubbings of Mayan Stone Stelae

Rubbings of Bilbao Monuments
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Monument 3

Monument 3, Middle Classic
Monument 6

Monument 6, Middle Classic

Story of Bilbao Area Rubbings


Monte Alto, Santa Lucia Cotzumalhuapa, El Baul

   During the summer of 1971, Joan Patten, Jea, and myself traveled southwest of Guatemala City stopping at Lake Amatitlan and then proceeding to Escuintla. We then proceeded to the areas of Monte Alto to discover a collosal head carved from a huge boulder in an elevated area of an agarian field, not far from the Pacific Ocean. The Preclassic boulder sculptures here in this area were a subject of National Geographic Society research during the 1960s. The colossal head indicates worship of this deity remains to be evidenced by the floral offerings.

   The stone face expresses a pleasant smile across the mouth of the stone carving. This is one of the few sculptures to express a smile instead of an embattled warrior, or a captured slave awaiting a human sacrifice.

   We then proceeded a short distance to Santa Lucia Cotzumalhuapa, and located two sculptures lying in the field adjacent to a jungle area. The Bilbao monument stones were carved from a volcanic type of stone surface.

   It was more difficult to prepare rubbings from this stone than the smoother limestone in northern areas of the Peten.

   The destiny of the rubbing of Bilbao Monument No.2 is located in the stairway of my friend Hugo Mieth whom was fascinated by this design sculpture. This rubbing is located in an open stairway of his home overlooking the Snowmass ski area where I worked as an architect during the years of 1965 to 1967. The rubbing was prepared in 1970 and ironically installed in 1990, twenty years later, which coincides with the 19.71 year cycle of a katun time frame which is a ceremonial period of time for preparing and erecting stone sculptures.

   After preparing the rubbings we proceeded to El Baul, where various stone sculptures are displayed in a row, The monuments of the Izapa style in El Baul bear the long count date equal to A.D. 36; earlier than any in the Lowland Mayas. I possess a beautiful rubbing prepared from one of these stone monuments in various tones of blue color by Dale Nichols, a noted artist who prepared national magazine cover designs during the 1940s and 1950s in the U.S.A.

   I acquired this rubbing from Dale Nichols while he was residing in Guatemala City.