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K'inich Tatbu Skull IV

[K'IN]chi-ni-ta-(ta)-bu-JOLO:M?. Drawing and transcription after Martin and Grube (2008).


Maya ruler of Yaxchilan; also known as Mak'ina Tah Skull III. Reigned >808>.

Father: Itzamnaaj Bahlam IV.

Mother: Lady Ch'ab Ajaw.

Monument: Lintel 10.

If the quality of stone carving at Yaxchilan declined during the course of Itzamnaaj Bahlam IV's reign, it reached a nadir in that of his son, K'inich Tatbu Skull IV; this ruler's sole monument, Lintel 10, is so crudely executed that it was once thought to be one of the site's earliest rather than its last (Martin and Grube 2000:137).

Other than recording the AD 808 dedication of Temple 3, the building in which it was set, and naming it as a waybil ("sleeping house") of a number of patron gods, Lintel 10 concerns itself with warfare (ibid.:137). In addition to captures ascribed to the king who is styled "Master of Turtle Macaw" there is a reference to the last known "star war" in a Classic Maya inscription (ibid.:137).

The capture events are also the last known at Yaxchilan or anywhere else in the Maya realm, and the prominence of one of the captives is such as to mark a dramatic culmination to the site's history; stated to be the baak ("captive") of K'inich Tatbu Skull is none other than the king of Piedras Negras, Ruler 7 (ibid.:137).

It seems unlikely that Yaxchilan was able to enjoy its triumph long, however, as the local version of the Classic Maya collapse was descending on the site; the city was all but abandoned as squatters took up residence in the ceremonial plazas, using broken monuments as mere construction fill (ibid.:137).

The foregoing is based on Chronicle of the Maya Kings and Queens by Simon Martin and Nikolai Grube (2008:137). Their sources include David Stuart in Houston et al. (1999; version online at FAMSI) for the capture of the Piedras Negras king.


After the capture of Yaxchilan ruler Knot-eye Jaguar I by Piedras Negras almost three hundred years earlier (c. 518), and intervening periods inferentially under the thumb of that neighboring site, the historical record at Yaxchilan closes out as it seems to have begun, with Yaxchilan on top. (The Early Classic lintels of Structure 12 possibly record a fourth century Yaxchilan success over Piedras Negras [Martin and Grube 2008:140], and Moon Skull almost certainly captured Ruler A of Piedras Negras around 460 [ibid.:140].)