Link to enlarge Masculine head from Palenque Chiapas from photo by Michel Zabé WHO'S WHO IN THE CLASSIC MAYA WORLD
Peter Mathews
K'awil Mo'    A captive taken by K'inich B'aknal Chak, king of Tonina (captured in AD 692)TNA 015
K'awil Mo' was a victim of the wars that raged between Palenque and Tonina in the decades surrounding AD 700. We only know of him from inscriptions that name and portray him at Tonina. These texts indicate that he was captured in AD 692 by the Tonina king K'inich B'aknal Chak, and he was likely one of the prisoners who was sacrificed by the king as part of his dedication ceremonies of Tonina's ballcourt in 699. It appears that K'awil Mo' was a noble who came from territory ruled—directly or indirectly—by Palenque. Tonina Monument p49 records a 'star war' against a lord from Palenque called only 'The Ballplayer' (probably a reference to the king K'inich Kan B'alam II) and the capture of K'awil Mo' on the same day. Other individuals taken captive by K'inich B'aknal Chak within a few years of the capture of K'awil Mo' are named as lords who owed their allegiance to K'inich Kan B'alam II, who ruled Palenque between AD 684 and AD 702. Some of these individuals appear to have been rulers of their own small polities politically subservient to Palenque, while others might have been lords more directly subordinate to K'inich Kan B'alam II. Precisely where K'awil Mo' came from is unknown, and I have therefore listed him under Tonina.

Apart from the capture references to K'awil Mo', and we have almost no other information about this unfortunate individual. It is likely that he was sacrificed on 7 Manik' 0 Muwan (21 November 699), the date when K'inich B'aknal Chak dedicated the ballcourt at Tonina. If so, he was kept prisoner for some seven years after his capture. We do not know the age of K'awil Mo', but presumably he was an adult at the time of his capture.

K'awil Mo' is portrayed as a captive on Tonina Monument p49, where interestingly he wears the elements of his name in his headdress. He is probably also portrayed on Monument 27, which was probably used as a step. Such was the fate of Maya captives: to be trodden upon for years after their capture and death.

Complete List of Text References

What's in a Name?

Portraits - K'awil Mo' is definitely portrayed on Tonina Monument M.p49, and probably also on Monument 27. He was also possibly portrayed as one of the captive sculptures of the ballcourt at Tonina.

Buildings Commissioned - None known.

Monuments Commissioned - None known.

Genealogy -


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