Temple of the Cross Group
The icons of Palenque's patron deities mentioned in the Temple of Inscriptions texts were probably housed in these earlier temples. The presence of fragmentary censers in the deep test pit excavated into the base of Temple XIV, moreover suggests that censing rituals such as those performed during Kan B'ahlam's reign, were also conducted earlier, possibly in tandem with the period-ending rites described in the K'atun histories of the Temple of Inscriptions.
If an earlier version of the Cross Group existed why was it rebuilt? It is possible that it was simply rebuilt as part of the celebration of the period ending that fell on 184.108.40.206.0 8 Ajaw 8 Wo' (March 18, 962). Monuments and shrines were often erected or dedicated at such times. Another complimentary answer, however, is perhaps found in Palenque's earlier wars with the city of Calakmul. Inscriptions from the Hieroglyphic Stairs (see left) and the East Panel of Temple of Inscriptions suggest that during these attacks the icons of Palenque's patron deities were desecrated and that their proper ritual treatment was discontinued for a number of years. Some of the most important events recorded in the Temple of Inscriptions were the K'atun rituals performed by K'ihnich Janaab' Pakal. In the Cross Group inscriptions K'ihnich Kan B'ahlam proclaims that, like his father before him, he is caring responsibly for the patron gods and thereby insuring the security and vitality of the realm. He seems to be continuing his father's rhetorical strategy, though instead of simply stating that he gave bundles and adorned the patron god icons with headdresses, K'ihnich Kan B'ahlam is stating that he rebuilt their shrines.
An inscription from the Temple of the Foliated Cross (see left), makes this point clear and gives us a detailed description of K'ihnich Kan B'ahlam's relationship with the patron gods. It also demonstrates the connection between the dedication of the Cross Group and the 220.127.116.11.0 period ending. The text states that on 5 Eb' 5 K'ayab' (AD 692):
Dedicated was house,
the B'olon Pet House is the name of the shrine of Une K'awiil,
the Naah Jo' Chan Lord.
It [the dedication] was the diligent service of Kan B'ahlam.
In eight days and three months it will have happened the 8 Ajaw 8 Wo'
the [completion of] thirteen K'atuns.
Built was [it at] Lakam Ha'.
This panel records the date of the dedication of the Temple of the Foliated Cross and states that this act of dedication was the diligent service (ju'ntan) of K'ihnich Kan B'ahlam. This same term, ju'ntan, is used by K'ihnich Janaab' Pakal to refer to the ceremonies that he performed during the 10th, 11th, and 12th K'atuns in the Temple of Inscriptions. Interestingly, it is also the term used to express the proper relationship between child and mother. It is likely that there is a conceptual link between these various uses.
Like much of Maya public art and architecture the Cross Group, seems to have served a variety of purposes for K'ihnich Kan B'ahlam. It continued a line of royal rhetoric that had seemingly served his father well, especially when read in conjunction with K'ihnich Kan B'ahlam's own military victories over the neighboring site of Tonina and the possible destruction or capture of its patron god. In the Cross Group, Kan B'ahlam masterfully combined a statement of his service to his gods with Palenque's dynastic record, and his own youth and accession rituals. This information was then all placed in an architectural and sculptural package of extraordinary aesthetic refinement and symbolic sophistication.