Tikal: Temple I

Temple I

Rising 154 ft above the Great Plaza, Tikal Temple I has been an icon of Classic Maya architecture since Alfred Maudslay first cleared it from the forest's grip in 1882.

Though barely visible today, its high roofcomb is decorated with a seated sculpture of Jasaw Chan K'awil.

Martin & Grube, Chronicle of the Maya Kings and Queens, p. 47


Tikal: Temple I

"Temple I, the funerary shrine of Ah Cacau [now referred to as Jasaw Chan K'awil], was built after his death, probably under instructions he gave to his son and successor, Yax Kin Caan Chac [Yik'in Chan K'awil].

Ah Cacau's tomb was discovered underneath the shrine, north of the centerline of the pyramid.

On its summit is a three-room temple surmounted by a huge roof comb portraying the ruler seated on his throne; this temple undoubtedly served as his mortuary shrine.

A carved wooden lintel inside the shrine depicts Ah Cacau seated before an immense jaguar-protector deity, and records his inauguration."

Robert Sharer, The Ancient Maya, 160-163.


Tikal: Temple I Tikal: Temple I

A series of stacked platforms creates the pyramid effect, which is most easily seen on Temple I with its nine platforms and elegant proportions. From below the temple itself appears to be in the heavens.

Peter Harrison, The Lords of Tikal, p. 116

NOTE: In Maya mythology, there were nine levels of the underworld, which correspond to the nine platforms of the pyramid.


Tikal: Temple I