Mercado from Temple of the Little Tables
slender columns supported the roof over the ambulatory, while the area over the sunken central section remained open. Sculpture from the Mercado includes a carved stone from the stairway ramp (Ruppert 1943:Fig. 12), sculptured pilasters at the entrance to the patio, and one of the finest massive altars at ChichĂŠn ItzĂĄ. Sculpture and other features of architectural design offer the best evidence from which to estimate the period of construction of the Mercado. The stratigraphic information available does not tie the structure to any other building in the sequence. The best sculptural evidence for a relative date of the Mercado comes from the minor panels above and below the central figures on the doorway pilasters (Ruppert 1943:Figs. 19, 20). Two groups of these sculptures have already been discussed, early types from the Great Ball Court (Tozzer l957:Figs. 335-338, 345), and late types from the Northeast Colonnade and the Xtoloc Temple (Tozzer 1957:Figs. 343, 340). The masks from the Mercado do not fit easily into either of these two groups, nor do they and the remaining types from the Chac Mool Temple form a distinct third group of their own (Tozzer 1957:Figs. 339, 341). Based on shared elements of the design and technical quality of the carving, the panels from the Mercado and the Chac Mool Temple are intermediate between the group from the ball court and the later group from the Northeast Colonnade and the Xtoloc Temple.