Bloodletting Ritual of Lady Xoc, Lintel 24 of Structure 23, Maya site of Yaxchilan, Chiapas, Mexico, Photo by Michel wal via Wikimedia Commons, GNU Free Documentation License.

Bloodletting with Lady Xoc: A Woman’s Work is Never Done

One of the things that come with the job of being a Mayan queen is the pain and blood loss associated with conjuring up royal ancestors.  It was required of her office so that the Gods would continue to allow, well, everyone to live.

In this carved lintel made of limestone sometime around 725 CE, Lady Xoc (pronounced “shoke”) kneels before her husband, King Shield Jaguar the Great who holds a burning torch, as she pulls as rope with thorns through a hole in her tongue.  Blood drips down onto paper in a basket on the ground.  The following lintel shows her burning the papers in order to conjure up a royal ancestor, who bears an uncanny resemblance to her husband.

Because the hieroglyphs on the lintels are specific, we know that she performed this bloodletting rite in the years 681 and in 799.