Friday, July 31, 2009
One of the most interesting and beautiful archaeological sites in Mexico, in my opinion, is Palenque in Chiapas. In the photo on the left I am shown standing at the top of the stairs of the famous Temple of Inscriptions where the tomb of the great ahau Pacal was found down a buried stairway and in a sarcophagus covered with a huge nine foot long carved stone lid. I will show the illustration found on this lid of Pacal ascending from Xibalba (the 'jaws of the beast of hell', so to speak) toward the top of the tree of life or heaven of the Maya. Some of the guides tell of the belief of some that he is driving a spaceship, but I am not very impressed with that theory (probably Von Daniken's). Also, is shown a picture of me standing under a corbel arch at the top of the stairway to the tomb.
Next is a picture of the Temple from ground level and then of the Palace, as it is called, taken from the top of the Temple. I brought home a couple of souveneirs from Palenque. One is the leather rectangle with the picture of the sarcophagus lid drawn on it in sepia (shown above) and the other is a small bow and arrows set sold to me by the Lacandon Indians there at the entrance to the site, shown below.
I regret that we were not able to stay a couple of days at this site, because I would liked to have seen more of the area, including the stream going along its perimeter, because this ancient city plays an important role in my 7th century novel, IXTAN AND THE MARK OF THE JAGUAR, which I am finishing up at this time. What an amazing place this was! There were many things to see there, including the stucco portrayal of Maya life and religion, as in the Temple of the Foliated Cross, and the many glyphs in the Temple of Inscriptions. One of those glyphs was the simple 'utchi' glyph (see below), which means, "And it came to pass." A meaningful glyph to me, due to the ubiquitous nature of that phrase in the text of the Book of Mormon.
Well, I hope all who see this are inspired to go visit Palenque themselves! It is a worthwhile trip, and lots more can be seen in an internet search about the area, including a place to stay near the site, I believe.
The 'UTCHI' glyph --------------------------------------------------