Palenque: The Palace [January 1, 2004]

"The piers were ornamented with spirited figures in bas-relief... On the top are three hieroglyphics sunk in the stucco. It is enclosed by a richly-ornamented border, about ten feet high and six wide, of which only a part now remains.

The principal personage stands in an upright position and in profile, exhibiting an extraordinary facial angle of about forty-five degrees...Over the shoulders is a short covering decorated with studs, and a breastplate; part of the ornament of the girdle is broken; the tunic is probably a leopard's skin; and the whole dress no doubt exhibits the costume of this unknown people. He holds in his hand a staff or sceptre, and opposite his hands are the marks of three hieroglyphics, which have decayed or been broken off.

At his feet are two naked figures seated cross-legged, and apparently suppliants. A fertile imagination might find many explanations for these strange figures, but no satisfactory interpretations presents itself to my mind. The hieroglyphics doubtless tell its history. The stucco is of admirable consistency, and hard as stone. It was painted, and in different places about it we discovered the remains of red, blue, yellow, black, and white.

The piers which are still standing contained other figures of the same general character, but which, unfortunately, are more mutilated, and from the declivity of the terrace it was difficult to set up the camera lucida in such a position as to draw them. The piers which are fallen were no doubt enriched with the same ornaments. Each one had some specific meaning, and the whole probably presented some allegory or history; and when entire and painted, the effect in ascending the terrace must have been imposing and beautiful. "

Stephens & Catherwood, Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas and Yucatan, p.311-12.