Palenque


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Palenque

(pälāng`kĕ), ancient city of the MayaMaya
, indigenous people of S Mexico and Central America, occupying an area comprising the Yucatán peninsula and much of the present state of Chiapas in Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, parts of El Salvador, and extreme western Honduras.
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 in Chiapas, S Mexico, in the Usumacinta Valley. Its architectural elegance, adapted to tropical and topographical conditions, was a high point in the art of the Classic period. Stucco sculpturing and low-relief paneling reached their highest expression at Palenque. The Temple of Inscriptions, noted for its hieroglyphic tablets, is one of the best-preserved Mayan temples. Entablatures sloping inward and roofs slanting back to give a mansard effect show the great range of architectural concepts among the Maya. In 1952 an impressive tomb was uncovered under the Temple of the Inscriptions, demonstrating for the first time that the Maya pyramids served both as funerary structures and temple platforms. In recent years, many of the inscriptions at Palenque have been deciphered, revealing much of the dynastic history of the site. The texts at the Temple of Inscriptions indicate the tomb found there belongs to a leader named Pakal the Great, who ruled in A.D. 603–83.

Palenque

 

the modern name for the ruins of a large city in the state of Chiapas, Mexico; the political and cultural center of the Mayans in the third to eighth centuries A.D. Among the remains are the ruins of a palace, measuring 92 m by 68 m in area and consisting of a group of buildings surrounding two large and two small courtyards and a square tower; the Temple of the Sun; the Temple of the Cross; and the Temple of Inscriptions, deep within which a crypt was discovered in 1952, with a false ceiling, bas-reliefs on the walls, and a sarcophagus in the center —evidently a ruler’s tomb. All the buildings are richly embellished with stucco reliefs.

Palenque was probably destroyed by invading tribes from the coast of the Gulf of Mexico in the ninth century. The ruins were known to exist in the 18th century and have been repeatedly investigated, notably by Mexican archaeologists from 1949 to 1968.

REFERENCES

Kinzhalov, R. V. Iskusstvo drevnikh maiia. Leningrad, 1968.
Mellanes Castellanos, E. Monografia de Palenque. Mexico City, 1951.
Séjourné, L. Palenque, una ciudad maya. Mexico City, 1952.
Fuente, Beatriz de la. Palenque en la historia y en el arte. Mexico City, 1968.

Palenque

the site of an ancient Mayan city in S Mexico famous for its architectural ruins
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