La Blanca is a pre-Columbian Mesoamerican archaeological site in present-day Retalhuleu Department, western Guatemala. It has an occupation dating predominantly from the Middle Preclassic (900–600 BC) period of Mesoamerican chronology, and at its peak was one of the largest known Mesoamerican sites of that era. It is located on the western Pacific coast, where it rose to become the major regional center following the decline of an earlier polity at Ojo de Agua[disambiguation needed]. La Blanca's regional dominance appears to have lasted approximately three centuries, until it was eclipsed by Ujuxte, 13 km east. The site had the highest pyramid in the Pacific Lowlands at 25 meters high.
Monument 3 was discovered in La Blanca Mound 9, in a residential zone thought to be largely or completely elite. Excavations of the mound initially revealed domestic features such as floors, burials. Monument 3, however, is unique in Mesoamerican archaeology. It has a sculpture, found on the western slope of the mound. The sculpture is in the shape of a quatrefoil and formed of rammed earth, composed of a sandy loam. The rammed earth was then coated with dark brown (nearly black) clay. The inner rim of the sculpture was painted with hematite red.
The La Blanca quatrefoil has a channel within the rim that may have carried water to the interior basin. The initial hypothesis is that the sculpture functioned as a locus of ritual in which water, or notions of fertility, were invoked. Such an idea is consistent with the quatrefoil shape, which in the Classic period iconography symbolizes a watery portal to the supernatural realm. Dating to approximately 850 B.C., the La Blanca sculpture appears to be the earliest example of a quatrefoil known in Mesoamerica.
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