Saturday, December 31, 2022

A Resplendent Tree Hiding in the Forest: The ‘Maya Cross’ at Palenque

Cover Graphics by Jim Reed

My Aztlander presentation is now online, “A Resplendent Tree Hiding in the Forest: The ‘Maya Cross’ at Palenque” speaking to world trees, life, death and resurrection and Maya jade trees: 

This talk reevaluates one of the most famous images in Classic Maya art, the figure known as the Maya cross from Palenque, Mexico (250-900 CE). The cross is prominently displayed as the central motif on the sarcophagus lid from K'inich Janaab' Pakal I’s tomb and on the inner sanctuary panel of K'inich Kan B'alam II’s Temple of the Cross. The presentation offers new findings that revise past ideas about the cross’ material identity, mythical origins, and proper name. Prior scholarship conceived the image to be a mythical tree, inhabiting the axis-mundi of the world. New iconographic, epigraphic, and archaeological evidence strongly suggests that the Maya identified Palenque’s cross as a tangible object, a jade tree that originated in the east, with the revered title, “Resplendent-Jade Jewel Tree.”

I also, I wrote a small two-part article for the Aztlander and Institute of Maya Studies December editions titled, “Of Sticks and Stones: Identifying Marks on the Palenque Cross”:

Part I: 

Part II:

 Enjoy, and Happy New Year!


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