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Publicly on view for the first time, this “Lurking Jaguar-masked Warrior” is surely one of the most stunning and rarest discoveries of past decades associated with Guatemala’s Early Classic (ca. 250 AD- 600 AD). In fact, it is the only well preserved example known to date of a large-size, three-dimensional stucco sculpture with its original color still preserved.

This sculpture was initially found in the mid 1990’s during the perforation of a water well in a cattle ranch, located southwest of Lake Peten Itzá, on the way to La Libertad (El Petén, Guatemala), where surrounding mounds were reportedly destroyed. The figure was severely broken during its retrieval by local workers and sold in pieces through the illicit market. While kept in a private collection, away from the public view, it was registered at the Registro de Bienes Culturales in 1996 and restored. In August of 2013, it was finally given to La Ruta Maya Foundation with the purposes of custody, conservation, exhibition, education, and research regarding this one-of-a-kind sculpture.

Southern Maya lowlands; Southwest of Lake Petén Itzá
Peten, Guatemala
Early Classic period (ca. 250 AD- 600 AD).
Height: 66 cm; Length: 266 cm; Width: 105 cm 
Registry of Cultural Property No.

Photo by Jorge Pérez de Lara