This panel is from a large, carved platform of Temple XXI, located to the south of the Sun Temple at Palenque. The panel presents five figures who participated in a ceremony on July 22, 736 CE. This date is more than 50 years after the death of the central figure, Pakal II (the Great). He wears a headband decorated with the names of two, earlier, mythical rulers of Palenque, namely Casper and Snake's Stingray Spine. Accompanying glyphs suggest that Pakal's spirit is fused with that of the earlier kings. Herein, Pakal represents the deep roots of Palenque's dynastic tradition. The stingray spine bloodletter in his right hand symbolizes the blood relationships to the two figures on his right and left, namely, K'inich Ahkal Mo' Nahb III - the reigning ruler - and his brother (right in the panel) and designated successor - U Pakal K'inich. The brothers are engaged in a bloodletting ceremony, and they are turned towards two creatures (priests) who offer them cloth, paper, and leaves. Each of the priests has the head of a rat and feline paws, and wears a jaguar-pelt cape.
This and other monuments commissioned during the reign of K'inich Akhal Mo' Nahb III indicate that he felt the need continually to reaffirm his mandate to rule over Palenque.
This panel was photographed in sections at the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Gatineau, Quebec.
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