SOTTR Maya King Yaxun B’alam IV

Image credit: Square Enix / Crystal Dynamics 2018

As we watched the newest full game trailer unfold for Shadow of the Tomb Raider, we are treated to many lavish shots of various jungle settings. We see a nacom a Maya official who performs the cutting out of the heart. He is clad in traditional garb and painted accordingly to perform a ritualistic heart removal sacrifice, where the boy is held over a convex stone by attendants to push his chest upward. There are usually four.  We see pyramid temples that harken to Chichen Itza in the Yucatan and others that are reminiscent of Yaxchilan and Palenque in Chiapas Mexico.

Description: Panoramic view Author: Martin Gray Copyright: © Sacred sites
Description: Pre-Hispanic City and National Park of Palenque (Mexico) Author: Martin Gray Copyright: © Sacred sites

Though we know that Lara ventures into Peru from the recent live stream event with panelists that included  Camilla Luddington. However, that certainly is not Maya lands, it could be Lara is in pursuit of someone or something. We shall learn more about that perhaps at E3. As I watched the trailer I couldn’t help but notice how a particular image among others drew me to it like a magnet. It was this familiar image seen just before the sacrifice scene that Lara thwarts. I recognized it from my pre-Colombian studies and had to recall its origin. Here is the image from the trailer.


In the trailer, it is not explained where it is. There are only images of different places flashed on the screen. I feel this is a significant image for this reason. This is a Maya king known as the Bird Jaguar IV Maya king of Yaxchilan or King Yaxun B’alam IV 709-768 AD. It is located in Chiapas Mexico. The location is near the Guatemalan border somewhat between Copán and Palenque.  Here is the actual Maya Lintel .

Lintel 16 from Yaxchilan depicts king Yaxun B’alam IV with his slave

This entire location along with this king could be as far as we know the setting for the Maya location of the game. It could also be set in  Calakmul.

I am not saying she is in Yaxchilan I am saying it could be set in Chiapas, Mexico or maybe inspired from that area or even Campeche.

Temple I,
Temple I, Calakmul Biosphere


Some pyramid temples in the trailer background, however, is reminiscent of Chichen Itza. Only there are not as many on that site as we see in the game. But I also have to remember that this is a game and these places could have served as inspiration for the setting and design elements. We have yet to learn where all of this takes place and real or fictitious is fine with me. I am only pointing out a key element that is from the real world and could be a clue to where all of this takes place. Wherever else it takes us, well that remains to be seen until September.

Here is the trailer you will find the image at position 0:23 

Read about Shadow of the Tomb Raider full trailer

Enjoy My Maya Screens and Concept Art Gallery

[FinalTilesGallery id=’8′]

I hope you enjoyed this little look at the Maya king.

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