Serpents and Bowls: An Analysis of the War Serpent Vessel from Burial 61 at El Perú-Waka'

Author(s): Sarah Van Oss; Olivia Navarro-Farr

Year: 2016


In 2012, Dr. Olivia Navarro-Farr and her team excavated the tomb (Burial 61) of a Maya ruler in a large ceremonial structure at the site of El Perú-Waka’ in Petén, Guatemala. A confluence of taphonomic, epigraphic, and ceramic evidence underscored the identification of these remains as likely pertaining to Lady K’abel, a queen already well known from texts associated with that ancient city. This poster will explore one of the artifacts found in Burial 61, called the War Serpent Vessel, placed at the interred’ s feet. In this study, I present an iconographic analysis of the plate that incorporates its archaeological context and significance. I will consider the vessel’s imagery and contextual arrangement within the chamber to explore how gender and rulership were performed. I am also interested in how this particular iconography signaled Lady K’abel’s particular role as ruler of Waka’ in Late Classic Maya society. Through these explorations, I hope to further our understanding of the performance of rulership and gender, and how an ancient Maya queen and those who interred her expressed those structures and incorporated them.

Cite this Record

Serpents and Bowls: An Analysis of the War Serpent Vessel from Burial 61 at El Perú-Waka'. Sarah Van Oss, Olivia Navarro-Farr. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 404494)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections


Gender Iconography Maya

Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -107.271; min lat: 12.383 ; max long: -86.353; max lat: 23.08 ;