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K'inich K'uk' Bahlam II

K'INICH-K'UK'[BAHLAM]-ma, "Radiant Quetzal Jaguar". Drawing, transcription and translation after Martin and Grube (2008).


Maya ruler of Palenque; also known as Bahlum K'uk' II. Reigned 764-783>.

Acceded: 9.16.13.0.7 9 Manik' 15 Wo (March 4, 764).

Father: K'inich Ahkal Mo' Nahb III.

Mother: Lady Men Nik.

Monuments: Tablet of the 96 Glyphs; Creation Tablet; House B Mural?; Bodega No. 218.

Ironically, it is to the reign of the last significant ruler of Palenque that one of the Classic Maya's greatest sculptural achievements belongs; the Tablet of the 96 Glyphs is justifiably renowned for the mastery by which its glyphic calligraphy is conveyed in stone (Martin and Grube 2008:174). Its text places K'inich K'uk' Bahlam II in the dynastic line of K'inich Janaab Pakal the Great by recounting the latter's AD 654 dedication of the Palace building housing the throne room that saw the accessions of subsequent rulers including K'uk' Bahlam's father K'inich Ahkal Mo' Nahb III and K'inich K'uk' Bahlam himself (ibid.:174).

A recently discovered stone portrait head may depict K'inich K'uk' Bahlam II, as the subject can be identified by a quetzal (k'uk') headdress and jaguar (bahlam) ears (ibid.:174).

The foregoing is based on Chronicle of the Maya Kings and Queens by Simon Martin and Nikolai Grube (2008:174). Their sources include James B. Porter (1994, available online) for the calligraphic carving style characterizing the monuments of K'inich K'uk' Bahlam II.


The Palace Tablet recounts the accessions of K'inich Janaab Pakal I, K'inich K'an Joy Chitam II, Ahkal Mo' Nahb III and K'inich K'uk' Bahlam II, but it omits those of K'inich Kan Bahlam II, K'inich Janaab Pakal II and K'inich Kan Bahlam II.

Whereas the stone portrait-head incensario stand depicting one of the Palenque kings named K'uk' Bahlam might conceivably represent the dynasty founder K'uk' Bahlam I, the naturalism and even unflattering nature of the portraiture argues otherwise. Mary Miller and Simon Martin (2004:230) observe:

Given the role of this piece in ancestral veneration, it is more likely, as David Stuart has suggested, that it represents the "founder" of the human Palenque dynasty, K'uk' B'ahlam I, who ruled the kingdom from AD 431 to 435.


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