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ch'a-?. Drawing and transcription after Martin and Grube (2008).

Maya ruler of Palenque. Reigned AD 435-487.

Born: 11 Lamat 6 Xul (August 8, 422).

Acceded: 2 Kaban 10 Xul (August 9, 435).

This king, whose name eludes decipherment, acceded at age thirteen and ruled for over fifty years (Martin and Grube 2008:157). He is portrayed on a bowl carved from travertine (a soft stone originating in cave deposits) that constitutes the one and only inscribed object from the Early Classic at Palenque (its artistic quality counters the once-prevalent imputation that the kingdom's early rulers were mere village chieftans who were unreasonably glorified in the inscriptions of their descendants) (ibid.:157). The text on the bowl reads yuk'ib' ch'ok ch'a-? k'uhul baakal ajaw, "the drinking cup of the prince Casper, divine lord of Palenque" (ibid.:157).

The foregoing is based on Chronicle of the Maya Kings and Queens by Simon Martin and Nikolai Grube (2008:157).

It is worth mentioning that the name of Casper might be better transcribed as CH'AAJ-?, where rather than providing a phonetic complement to the undeciphered "ghost" sign, the initial sign might signal the distinct noun ch'aaj "incense". If so, Casper's fuller name would actually be Ch'aaj Casper or "Incense Casper". A similar pattern is apparent in the name of Tok Casper of Quirigua (Marc Zender, personal communication 2004).

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