Temple of Inscriptions

The K'atun Histories and Period-ending Rites of the Temple of Inscriptions

Tablets from the temple of Inscriptions
From left: East Tablet (magnify), Center table (magnify), and West tablet (magnify) from the Temple of Inscriptions.

Linda Schele succinctly described the general themes and structure of the Temple of Inscriptions texts in the opening to her 1986 Notebook for the Maya Hieroglyphic Writing Workshop at Texas (Schele and Wald 1999:12).

The inscriptions of the first two and one third of the panels of the Temple of Inscriptions are composed of the histories of the Katun 4 through Katun 13, and in many ways these inscriptions can be considered the proto-type of the katun histories as they are known in the books of the Chilam Balam of Yucatan. These particular katuns seem to have been chosen because they form the number nine which can be divided in sections of three each, and, therefore, provide the locking dates of the inscription of the sarcophagus sides at the one-third intervals, or at 9.7.0.0.0 and 9.10.0.0.0.

The katun histories themselves are recorded in very restricted formulas which can be described in terms of the following three types: (1) those katuns [katun 4-8] which lead up to the katun in which Pacal, the builder of the temple, was born; (2) the katun of his mother's reign, and the three katun endings of his own reign; and, (3) those katuns and other period endings which fall in the future after the construction of the temple and the design of the inscriptions.

Since Schele's above observations the Temple of Inscriptions narrative has received surprisingly little scholarly investigation. This is especially perplexing considering its great length and obvious importance for understanding Palenque's history. Exceptions to this trend include the Notebooks of the annual Maya Meetings at the University of Texas, Austin (cf. Schele and Wald 1999; Martin et al. 2002), Schele and Mathews' (1998) recent general book on Maya ruins that includes a chapter on the Temple of Inscriptions and highlights, however briefly, the ritual actions that are clearly the central focus of the narrative. Martin and Grube (2000; Martin et al. 2002), looking again at the historical information of the text, make heavy use of the Temple of Inscription texts in their outline of Palenque's history. Nevertheless, despite these enlightening studies few attempts have been made to present a translation of major portions of the text or to underscore the poetic beauty of its structure (for exception see Hull 2003). In the following, I present a transcription, transliteration, and translation of the passages concerning the period ending rituals of the 10th-12th K'atuns, which covers the East Panel S8-T12 through the entire Middle Panel and A1-A8 of the West Panel. In the spring (2005) a PDF version will be available including arguments for particular glyphic readings and interpretations and additional contextual information.

Transliteration

[EP: S8-T12] upaat 1 ajawal winikhaab' unahtal uchumtuun yak'aw upih uk'uhil k'ihnich janaab' pakal k'uhul b'aak ajaw [MP: A1-A3] u cha'tal uchumtuun 12 ajaw 8 keh (9.11.0.0.0) u 11 winikhaab' [B3-A5] ajaw[a]niiy win/ut chan nal “sprout”-jal win/ut uh te' “sprout”-jal win/ut ? te' [B6-A8] chanal ikaatz kab'al ikaatz [B8-A9] u'haj tu'paj [B9-C1] 9 chan yoon? 16 oon? 9 tz'akb'u ajaw [D1-D4] upaat 12 ajawal winikhaab' yilaaj winikhaab' ch'aho'm k'ihnich janaab' pakal k'uhul b'aak ajaw [C5-E4] yak'aw “Quadripartite Badge”-al ukohaw ju'n winik upih chaahk yak'aw tzik ukohaw ju'n winik upi[h] une k'awiil yak'aw sak hu'n ukohaw ju'n winik upi[h] k'in ajaw [F4-E9] uk'al hu'n ya[j]k'ochchuhal? ux ? k'uh, chaahk, une k'awiil, k'ihnich k'in ajaw ujuuntan k'ihnich janaab pakal k'uhul b'aak ajaw [F9-G4] u uxtal uchumtuun tu b'aak ajawlel 10 ajaw 8 yaxk'in (9.12.0.0.0) u 12 winikhaab' yilaaj k'ihnich janaab' pakal k'uhul b'aak ajaw [H4-H6] ajawaniiy ut laju'n ajaw win/ut lahaab' taakaj ut uh te' [G7-H9] ek'? ch'aay? elk'in ajawtaak ochk'in ajawtaak [?] [G10-J1] 9 chan yoon? 16 oon? 9 tz'ab'u ajaw [I2-J3] 2 k'alaaj sak hu'n ya[j]k'och chuhal uk'uhil [I4-I10] yak'aw u k'uhul pi[h] ju'n winik pixo'm usak hu'nal u'h yax k'ahk' k'uh utu'p k'uhul “Quadripartite Badge” ukohaw chaahk sak b'olon [J10-L2] yak'aw winikhaab' ch'aho'm janaab' pakal k'uhul b'aak ajaw [K3-K9] yak'aw uk'uhul pih ju'n winik pixo'm usak hu'nal u'h yax jopoy? chan ut utu'p u yax/k'uhul tziik? ukohaw ch'ok une k'awiil [L9-M6] yak'aw u pi[h] ju'n winik pixo'm usak hu'nal u'h yax pa'k utu'p k'uhul hu'n ukohaw yahaw k'ahk k'ihnich k'in ajaw ux ? k'uh ju'n ajaw [N6-N10] chak otoot chak nuk chan ut waka' chan ukunil ju'n ye nal chaahk sak b'olon ux kob' [WP: A1-A8] uju'ntan tuk'uhil winikhaab' ch'aho'm k'ihnich janaab' pakal uk'al hu'n yajk'ochchuhal uk'uhil chaahk [GI], une k'awiil, k'ihnich k'in ajaw ? k'uh utimiw yo'l uk'uhil

Translation

The end of the 1 Ajaw K'atun was the first stone-seating of K'inich Janaab' Pakal, the Divine Palenque Lord. He gave the bundles of his gods.

On his second stone-seating, 12 Ajaw 8 Keh was the 11th K'atun,
the face-of-the-sky-maize-god had become lord,
    the face of the jewel/moon tree had sprouted,
        the face of the “Five origins” tree had sprouted,

the heavenly bundle,
    the earthly bundle,

the necklace,
    the earspool

…He is the B'olon Tz'akb'u Ajaw, [the Nine Successor Lord]

It was the end of the 12 Ajaw K'atun, the Winikhaab' Ch'aho'm, K'ihnich Janaab' Pakal, the Divine Palenque Lord witnessed it.

He gave the “Quadripartite badge,” it was headdress of the twenty bundles of Chaak.
He gave Tziik, it was the headdress of the twenty bundles of the infant K'awiil.
He gave white bark-paper, it was the headdress of the twenty bundles of the Sun Lord.

The headdress-tying of the icons of the “three ? gods,” the Maize God, the Infant K'awiil, and the Fire God was the diligent service of K'ihnich Janaab' Pakal, the Divine Palenque Lord.

It was his third stone-seating as the king of Palenque.
    10 Ajaw 8 Yaxk'in was the 12th K'atun,

K'ihnich Janaab' Pakal, the Divine Palenque Lord witnessed it.

The face of Laju'n Ajaw became lord,
    it was the face of the final year.
        Dried became the face of the jewel/moon tree.

Lost were the eastern lords,
        the western lords.

…He is the B'olon Tz'ab'u Ajaw, [the Nine Successor Lord]

Tied again was the white bark-paper of the icon of his gods.

He gave the divine bundle of [the deity Sak B'olon],
twenty wrappings were its white bark-paper jewel,
the first fire god was its earspool,
the divine sacrificial bowl [quadripartite badge] was the headdress of Chaahk, Sak B'olon.

The Winikhaab' Ch'aho'm Janaab' Pakal, the divine Palenque Lord gave [these bundles].

He gave the divine bundle of [the Infant K'awiil],
twenty wrappings were its white bark-paper necklace,
the first jopoy sky-face was its earspool,
Divine veneration (tziik?) was the headdress of the sprout,
the Infant K'awiil.

He gave the bundle of [the K'inich Ajaw],
twenty wrappings were its white bark-paper necklace,
the first pa'k (?) was its earspool,
the divine bark-paper was the headdress of the Lord of Fire, K'inich Ajaw, the three ? gods, Ju'n Ajaw.

The Red House, the Red Skin Sky, the Six Skies was the shrine [oven] of the One-Grain-of-Maize Chaahk, the Sak B'olon, the thrice progenitor.

The tying of the headband of the icons of his gods—the Maize God, the Infant K'awiil, and the Sun God—was the diligent service of the Winikhaab' Chaho'm K'ihnich Janaab' Pakal to his gods, [and thus by this] he appeased the heart his gods.

Transcription

u-pa-ti 1-AJAW-la WINIKHAB'/PIH u-NAH-ta-la u-CHUM-TUN-ni ya-k'a-wa u-PIH u-K'UH-li K'INICH-JANAB' pa-ka-la K'UH-B'AK-AJAW u-cha-ta-la u-CHUM-mu-TUN-ni 12 AJAW 8 KEH u-11-WINIK-HAB' AJAW-ya-ni UT/WIN?-CHAN-na-NAL? KAB'NAL?-ja-la UT/WIN?-UH-TE' KAB'NAL?-ja-la UT/WIN?-?-TE' CHAN-na-NAL i-ka-tzi KAB'-la i-ka-tzi u-ha-ja tu-pa-ja 9-CHAN-na yo-YOON?-ni 6-YOON-ni 9 TZAK-b'u-AJAW i-u-ti 12 AJAW WINIK-HAB' yi-li-a-ji WINIK-HAB' ch'a-ho-ma K'INICH JANAB' PAKAL-la K'UHUL B'AK AJAW ya-k'a-wa “quadripartite badge”-la u-KOHAW-wa 1-WINIK-ki u-pi-hi GI ya-k'a-wa TZIK? (tzi-ka?) u-KOHAW-wa 1-WINIK u-pi u-ne-K'AWIIL ya-k'a-wa SAK-HUN-na u-KOHAW-wa 1-WINIK-ki u-pi K'IN-AJAW u-K'AL-hu-na ya-T174.530-la 3-?-ti-K'UH GI, u-ne-K'AWIIL, K'INICH-K'IN?-AJAW u-JUN-TAN-na K'INICH JANAB' pa-ka-la K'UHUL-B'AK-AJAW u-3-ta-la u-CHUM-[mu]-TUN 10-AJAW 8 YAXK'IN u-12-WINIKHAB' yi-li-a-ji K'INICH JANAB' pa-ka-la K'UHUL B'AK AJAW AJAW-ni-ya UT/WIN?-?-AJAW UT/WIN?-la-HAB' ta-ki-ja UT/WIN?-UH-TE' EK' CHAY?-yi ELK'IN-ni TAK-AJAW OCHK'IN-ni TAK-AJAW ?-b'a-ja 9-CHAN-na yo-K'IN?-ni ?-? 9-TZ'AK-b'u-AJAW ?-K'AL-ji-? SAK-HUN-na ya-K'OCH?-la u-K'UH-li ya-k'a-wa u-K'UH-hu-lu pi 1-WINIK-ki pi-xo-ma u-SAK-hu-na-la u-ha YAX-K'AK'-K'UH? u-tu-pa CHIT?/YAX-quadripartite badge u-KOHAW-wa CHAK SAK-B'OLON ya-k'a-wa WINIKHAB' ch'a-ho-ma JANAB' pa-ka-la K'UHUL-B'AK-la-AJAW ya-k'a-wa u-K'UHUL-pi-hi 1-WINIK-ki pi-xo-ma u-SAK-HUN-la u-ha YAX jo-po-yi CHAN-na-T245 u-tu-pa YAX-TZIK? u-KOHAW-wa ch'o-ko u-ne-K'AWIL ya-k'a-wa u-pi 1-WINIK-ki pi-xo-ma u-SAK-HUN-la u-ha YAX-pa-ku u-tu-pa CHIT?/YAX-HUN-na u-KOHAW-wa ya-AJAW-K'AK' K'INICH-K'IN?-AJAW 3-?-ti-K'UH 1-AJAW-wa CHAK-OTOT-ti CHAK-nu-ku CHAN-na-T245 WAK-a-a-CHAN-na u-ku-nu-li 1-ye-NAL CHAK (GI), 9?-3-ko-b'o u-JUN-TAN-na tu-K'UH-li WINIKHAB' ch'a-ho-ma K'INICH JANAB' pa-ka-la u-K'AL-HUN ya-K'OCH?-la u-K'UH-li GI, u-ne-K'AWIL K'INICH-K'IN?-AJAW 3-?-ti- K'UH u-ti-mi-wa yo-OL-la u-K'UH-li

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