Xpujil: West side, closeup of imitation temple atop central tower

Xpujil: Str. 1, false temple

Feb. 19, 1997


With few exceptions, Río Bec towers are usually topped with small structures simulating a temple. It is interesting that these simulated temples always represent classic Río Bec style temples with their monster mouth doorways and profile serpent jaws, and not the Petén style temples from which the Río Bec tower was originally thought to derive.

At Xpujil, the frontal mask above the doorway has fallen, but the profile serpent masks bracketing the simulated doorway are still discernable.

For full-size counterparts of the type of monster-mouth temple imitated here , see:
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Structure I or Structure II at Hobchob,
Structure II or Structure XX at Chicanná, or
Structure II or Structure V at Hormiguero.

At Uxmal, where elements of the Rio Bec style were adopted into the local Puuc style, the Pyramid of the Magician features a full size monster-mouth temple at the top of a full size pyramid.

An example of a semi-functional simulated temple atop a Río Bec tower can been seen at Dzibilnocac. Although this photo shows only a simulated door on the west-facing side, a true door does exist on the north-facing side. The north side, however, does not have a monster-mouth entrance like the west side.