Royal belt ornament
- c. 500–700 CE
On important ceremonial occasions, Maya kings dressed as the World-Tree-of-the-Center, or Wakah-Chan (The Stood-up Sky). To become the tree, they wore ornaments such as this on their loincloths or belts. This regal object depicts a personified mirror, such as occurs on the trunk of the World Tree. The Maya name for this is tzuk, which means "partition," "division," or "dominion." Tzuk symbolizes the ordering of the cosmos when the World Tree was raised by First Father at the beginning of creation. The concept of tzuk relates to the ordering of the physical world into rectilinear patterns of temples, fields, homes, and plazas. Tzuk also meant "province," as in a political division of a kingdom or empire. When the king wore an object that depicted tzuk, he affirmed himself as the source of political power.
Carol Robbins, Label text, A. H. Meadows Galleries.