The Cross Group Temples of Palenque

Explore the three temples designed by Palenque ruler K'inich Kan Bahlam

British Museum

The Cross Group

The Cross group is a complex of three structures designed by Palenque ruler K’inich Kan Bahlam (finished in 692 CE). Apart from the Temple of the Inscriptions, these temples are some of the largest structures at Palenque.

Each temple is built at a different height, possibly corresponding to three different levels of the Maya universe: the sky, the earth, and the underworld.

The Temple of the Cross

This is the Temple of the Cross, the largest of the three structures of the Cross Group.

The Temple of the Cross

This temple houses the main member of Palenque’s patron gods, the Palenque Triad, god GI – also referred to as Hun Yeh Winkil (the 'one tooth creature') – associated with the east and sun and royal ancestry.

Temple of the Foliated Cross

The Temple of the Foliated Cross is the second highest in the complex. It houses god G2, or Unen K’awiil (Infant K’awiil), the youngest of the triad of Palenque’s patron gods. He is the god of lightning, agricultural fertility, and the manifestation of royal power.      

Temple of the Foliated Cross

Inside of the temple you would find a sanctuary with the Tablet of the Foliated Cross. It depicts young and old K’inich Kan Bahlam, the ruler who commissioned these monuments.

The Temple of the Sun

In the temple, there is a panel depicting K’inich Kan Bahlam as a youth and as an adult. The iconography also includes a shield and spear.

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