Arte-Factual: Jade Burial Mask (Shadow of the Tomb Raider)

In Shadow of the Tomb Raider, the ever-intrepid Lara Croft finds herself doing a spot of treasure-hunting while in Paititi, a hidden city deep in the Peruvian jungles and home to an isolated society which has its roots in Inca, Maya, and even Aztec cultural traditions and beliefs. A jade burial mask is among the many ancient artefacts she unearths during her quest to save the world from a Maya apocalypse. What isn’t immediately clear from the game is whether this particular burial mask had been crafted by the descendants of the fictional Maya who had migrated to Peru centuries earlier or whether it had been crafted in Maya territory and then transported south during the migration. Perhaps if Lara hadn’t been too busy trying to prevent the destruction of the lost city and surrounding settlements, she could have found the time to date the artefact and confirm whether it was a cultural relic that pre-dated Paititi or a product of Paititi’s hybrid society. As with most of the Tomb Raider artefacts I’ve written about over the years, the in-game mask has a real-life counterpart that it was modelled after: in this case, it’s a near-perfect replica of the Calakmul […]

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