Tikal: Temple II

Temple II

Clemency Coggins first suggested that Temple II was constructed in honor of Hasaw's wife. The name assumed for this wife is "Lady Twelve Macaw," the name recorded as the mother of Hasaw's son (Ruler B or Yik'in Chan K'awil) on Stela 5. The relationship of this woman to the names recorded on Altar 5 remains a mystery, although the specific alignment formed by Temples I, II and Altar 5 strongly corroborates the interpretation that the woman on the altar and the woman on Temple II are the same.

Lintel 2 of Temple II was carved, and the surviving remnant shows the figure of a royally garbed woman, but no text has survived. The carved beam of this lintel now resides in the American Museum of Natural History in New York.

In his excavations of the Great Plaza, W. R. Coe (Tikal Report 14) determined by the stratigraphy that the beginning of construction of Temple II preceeded the beginning of construction of Temple I by a few years. This is significant for a number of reasons. The date on Altar 5 indicate that Hasaw's wife had died in AD 703, 31 years before the accession of her son in AD 734, presumed to be close to the date of Hasaw's death which is not recorded anywhere yet known.

Given this long gap in time, it is likely that Temple II, if indeed dedicated to Hasaw's wife would have begun to be constructed before the even more monumental work of Hasaw's own mortuary temple, Temple I.

Peter Harrison, The Lords of Tikal, p. 141


Tikal: Temple II

Temple II seen from top of Structure 22, North Acropolis

"In the Peten, roof-combs are usually of solid wall construction, often loaded upon the rear bearing wall.

The Tikal roof-comb is like the back of a throne. The building itself is the seat, and the pyramid the dais. Dark figures enthroned in the interlaced decorations of the roof-comb often complete the scheme of seated majesty."

Kubler, pp. 214-215


Tikal: Temple II

Roof comb of Temple II

"The roof crest or roof comb is a sort of huge wall which was placed on the roof of a temple to add to the height and consequent grandeur of the whole structure and to supply a space on which masks and figures of gods modeled in stucco could be displayed.

At Tikal roof combs are of imposing dimensions, sometimes as high as forty feet."

J. Eric S. Thompson, Maya Archaeologist, p. 197


Tikal: Temple II

"The corbel technology of Maya architecture severely limited the amount of interior space that could be incorporated into a building.

By functional necessity and traditional definition, access to interior spaces was limited, and the exterior plaza is the operational space in Maya architecture. Architectural sculpture and painting, as well as the stelae, face this open space.

Maya buildings functioned like huge billboards manifesting religious and polical propaganda for the elite who commissioned them.

They were also great stage fronts for the rituals vital to the sustenance of society as a whole. Through the symbolic information carried by sculpture and painting around and within the architecture, the framework of ritual was defined in terms of the larger Maya cosmos, the history of the site and region and the personal actions, authority and ancestry of kings."

Schele & Miller, The Blood of Kings, p. 35


Tikal: Temple II

Coatimundi forage at the base of Temple II