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K'inich K'an Joy Chitam II

K'INICH K'AN-na-JOY[CHITAM]-ma, "Precious/Yellow Tied Peccary". Drawing, transcription and translation after Martin and Grube (2008).


Maya ruler of Palenque; also known as Kan Xul II and K'an Hok' Chitam II. Ruled AD 702-720>.

Born: 9.10.11.17.0 11 Ahaw 8 Mak (November 2, 644).

Acceded: 9.13.10.6.8 5 Lamat 6 Xul (May 30, 702).

Father: K'inich Janaab Pakal I.

Mother: Lady Tz'akbu Ajaw.

Brothers: Kan Bahlam II, Tiwol Chan Mat?

Monuments: Palace Tablet; Del Río Throne?; Warrior Panel; Temple 14 Panel?; Dumbarton Oaks Panel.

K'inich K'an Joy Chitam was fifty-seven years old when he followed his brother K'inich Kan Bahlam II on the throne of Palenque (Martin and Grube 2008:171). That he had been groomed as successor for quite some time is indicated by the fact that he had taken the title baah ch'ok, "head prince," eight years earlier, in AD 684 (ibid.:171).

Historical assessment of K'inich K'an Joy Chitam has centered around a single monument from Tonina; this shows the Palenque king as a bound captive next to a short text saying that Tonina waged war against the center of Palenque (ibid.:171). Evidently Tonina had effected revenge for the defeat of Ruler 2 by K'inich Kan Bahlam II (ibid.:170, 181).

In contrast to the normal custom of depicting captives stripped of their finery, it is noteworthy that the Tonina monument shows K'inich K'an Joy Chitam retaining his royal regalia (ibid.:171). All the same, the inference had been that he was sacrificed or held in captivity for a protracted period of time. But then David Stuart made a convincing case that K'inich K'an Joy Chitam was in fact restored to his kingship; Stuart pointed to a damaged but legible passage of Piedras Negras Stela 8 which associates the Palenque ruler's name with a date in 714 (ibid.:171). And an inscription from Palenque's Temple 16 states that he oversaw a ceremony in Palenque in 718—albeit presumably as a vassal of Tonina or a tribute-payer (ibid.:171). These two dates—both clearly post-capture—mean that there is no reason to question the account of K'inich K'an Joy Chitam presiding over the 720 dedication of his most significant architectural achievement, the gallery connecting Houses A and D of the Palace; this dedication is recorded on the Palace Tablet, the impressive monument displayed within the gallery (ibid.:171).

The Palace Tablet remains enigmatic, however. Its figural relief depicts K'an Joy Chitam receiving the symbols of royalty from his father Pakal and mother Lady Tz'akbu Ajaw (ibid.:171). But the glyphic caption to this scene records the birth and naming ceremony, not of K'inich K'an Joy Chitam but of someone named Ux Yop Huun, as if this mysterious character were depicted as the regal centerpiece of the scene. And the main text of the monument, which refers to events in the life of K'inich K'an Joy Chitam, ends by saying that the gallery being dedicated belonged to Ux Yop Huun. K'inich K'an Joy Chitam, in turn, is not the direct agent but the overseer of the dedication, as if perhaps his role were limited by the warfare and capture events of nine years earlier. Conceivably Ux Yop Huun was some form of regent, although this remains to be clarified.

The foregoing is based on Chronicle of the Maya Kings and Queens by Simon Martin and Nikolai Grube (2008:170, 171, 181). Their sources include Stephen Houston and David Stuart (1997) for the baah ch'ok title; Linda Schele and Peter Mathews (1991) for the capture by Tonina; and David Stuart (2004, available online) as noted above.


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