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K'inich Janaab Pakal II

u-PAKAL-la-K'INICH (K'INICH-) JANA:B-pa-ka-la, "Shield of the Sun God Radiant ?-Shield". Drawing, transcription and translation after Martin and Grube (2008).


Maya ruler of Palenque; also known as Upakal K'inich. Reigned >742>.

Brother: K'inich Ahkal Mo' Nahb III?

Monuments: Bodega No. 1144.

Bygone visitors to Palenque's Temple 19 were once greeted in the doorway by a towering stone sculpture of Palenque ruler K'inich Ahkal Mo' Nahb III. On another side of the pier on which this was mounted was an equally impressive sculpture in polychrome stucco. This depicted K'inich Ahkal Mo' Nahb's successor, named on the monument as Upakal K'inich. The accompanying inscription calls him baah ch'ok ("head prince," or principal heir to the throne) (Martin and Grube 2000:174).

But the second of the two monuments referring to Upakal K'inich as baah ch'ok is even more interesting. Discovered by Arnoldo González Cruz in 2002, a sculptured platform inside Temple 21 depicts K'inich Janaab Pakal in the center of its scene, the great king grasping a sacrificial bloodletter. On either side are seated his descendants, K'inich Ahkal Mo' Nahb III and Upakal K'inich (Martin and Grube 2008:174). There is no date given for the scene, but Ahkal Mo' Nahb's child name is highlighted in the accompanying text. This suggests that if an actual historical event is being referenced, it must have occurred between the birth of Ahkal Mo' Nahb in AD 678 and the death of Pakal in 683 (ibid:174). And if Upakal K'inich was present, he must have been Ahkal Mo' Nahb's brother rather than his son (ibid:174).

On succeeding K'inich Ahkal Mo' Nahb, Upkal K'inich took the name of his ancestor, K'inich Janaab Pakal, styling himself in full Upakal K'inich Janaab Pakal to distinguish himself from his illustrious predecessor (ibid.:174).

In addition to the stucco portrait from Temple 19 and the sculpture from Temple 21, K'inich Janaab' Pakal II is named in glyphs and portrayed on fragments of a panel that came originally from the Palace (ibid.:174).

In 742 Upakal K'inich oversaw the accession of a subsidiary lord (ibid.:174).

It was during the reign of Upakal K'inich that Lady Chak Nik Ye' Xook of Palenque traveled to distant Copan for a marriage that produced that site's sixteenth ruler, Yax Pasaj Chan Yopaat (Martin and Grube 2000:174, 2008:209).

The foregoing is based on Chronicle of the Maya Kings and Queens by Simon Martin and Nikolai Grube (2000:174, 2008:174, 209). Their sources include Guillermo Bernal Romero (1999) for Upakal K'inich taking K'inich Janaab Pakal as his regnal name.


For the Temple 19 stucco pier see David Stuart's "Ritual and History in the Stucco Inscription from Temple XIX at Palenque" (Stuart 2000a) online at Mesoweb/PARI.

For the Temple 21 find, see Mesoweb's report. Also at Mesoweb, see A New Palenque Ruler.

Based on the observation that that the figure of Upakal K'inich sculpted on the platform from Temple 21 looks, if anything, older than the accompanying figure of K'inich Ahkal Mo' Nahb, David Stuart (personal communication 2002) suggested that Upakal K'inich was the brother rather than the son of K'inich Ahkal Mo' Nahb. (Simon Martin [in Miller and Martin 2004:232] arrived at the same conclusion based on the logic outlined above.) In this context, it is worth pointing out that the baah ch'ok title was adopted by the future Palenque ruler K'inich K'an Joy Chitam II on the occasion of his older brother's accession. And although it is not conclusive evidence, it might be added that Maya kings often took the name of their grandfather upon their accession. Notably this is the case at Palenque, where one inscription refers to Ahkal Mo' Nahb II simply as "grandson of Ahkal Mo' Nahb." As a brother of K'inich Ahkal Mo' Nahb III, Upakal K'inich would have been a grandson of K'inich Janaab Pakal.

The 742 investiture was one of a series recorded on the "K'an Tok Panel" from Temple 16. According to Peter Mathews (personal communication 2001) the date was 9.15.10.10.13, 8 Ben 16 Kumk'u (January 29, 742).

The glyphs of the fragmentary panel from the Palace, Bodega No. 1144 (Schele and Mathews 1979:no. 81), were originally taken to be a reference to K'inich Janaab Pakal I since that name is clear, but fragmentary PAKAL-la glyphs before *K'INICH JANAAB-pa-ka-la would have gone toward providing the Upakal portion of the full regnal name, Upakal K'inich Janaab Pakal II. A companion fragment with his face and headdress graces the cover of Maya Cosmos (Freidel, Schele and Parker 1993).

Lady Chak Nik Ye' Xook is thought to have brought an heirloom with her from Palenque to Copan — a jade Olmec head recarved with glyphs bearing a royal name similar to that of Upakal K'inich (Schele and Miller (1986; Martin and Grube 2000:174). This namesake is more likely to have been king of Comalcalco than Palenque, given that the two sites shared the same "bone" emblem glyph (Marc Zender, personal communication 2000).


For a further discussion of this ruler at Mesoweb see The Rulers of Palenque.