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Temple of the Sun, Palenque

The Cross Group is a complex of three temples designed by Palenque's ruler K'inich Kan Bahlam. Each temple is built at a different height, possibly corresponding to three different levels of the Maya universe: heaven, earth/surface of water and the underworld. Each temple is dedicated to one of the three patron gods of the Palenque dynasty – The Palenque Triad.

The Temple of the Sun, the best preserved of the three structures, is standing on the lowest ground and is housing God GIII, or K’inich Taj Wayib’ (the “Great Sun Torch”), a solar deity associated with warfare and tied to the underworld.

This symbolism is also expressed by the central motive of the Temple of the Sun tablet, which depicts a ceremonial shield and two crossed spears, supported on the backs of two underworld deities.

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  • Title: Temple of the Sun, Palenque

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