The Codz-Poop, Kabah, Yucatan--page 1 (of three pages)

Classic Period; 750-950 CE




The Codz-Poop (or Palace of Masks)

Like Labná and Uxmal, Kabah is an important Puuc site, generally considered, in fact, the most important after Uxmal. A sacbé (Mayan causeway) connects Kabah with Uxmal--see page 3. The most distinctive building is the Codz-Poop. Unlike structures in the usual Puuk style--plain walls topped by a decorated frieze, this building has on its west front an entire wall decorated with masks. Some scholars define these as Chaac masks (as the god of rain, he was important in this generally dry region); Mary Ellen Miller notes, however, the god represented is Itzamnah, the paramount Mayan god of creation.1 The name Codz-Poop meaning "rolled blanket" is a post-Conquest term referring to the 250 curling god-snouts that protrude from the building (most of which are broken off, however).
 

Left: The Codz-Poop (or Palace of Masks); center: area in front of The Codz-Poop; right: water cistern (or chultune)

 

Ritual platform bordered by symbolically engraved stones

 

Left and right: details of the west facade; center: a fallen stone which once was set at the base of the wall (see left image)--note the rosette design

 

Details of the masks

 

Center and right: surviving curling snouts



1Mary Ellen Miller (Maya Art and Architecture [Thames and Hudson,1999]) notes: "Recently Linda Schele and Peter Mathews have identified many of these heads as different aspects of Itzamnah, the principal creator god, who was often known in his powerful avian version. Buildings guarded by Itzamnah were places of divination and priestly power: the House of Masks once proclaimed its potency with its dazzling facade" (61).

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