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Pinewood sculpture, 'Prince of the Maya' (Guatemala)


A bearded dancer with maracas depicts a Maya prince. Wearing a black hat and a snake around his neck, he performs Guatemala's Dance of the Conquest. Manuel Delfino carves the image by hand from sustainably harvested pinewood. Dance has been a part of rituals and celebrations in Guatemala for thousands of years, and many tell stories from history and folklore. The Dance of the Conquest is one of these. The king of the Quiche Maya and his son, Tekum, are told by a soothsayer that invaders will come to the kingdom. Tekum's own death is foretold. Princes and princesses in the royal court urge Tekum to take action and offer their support. The dance culminates with a reenactment of the fierce battle with conquistador Pedro de Alvarado in which Tekum heroically defends his people. Alas, Tekum is slain. Finally, the Quiche adopt the Christian faith of the Spaniards.

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