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Mesoamerican Ballgame. Ballcourt. Ballcourt at Monte Alban. Player and Uniform. A yoke carved into a fanciful representation of a frog. This 40 lb (18 kg) stone carving is considered too heavy for actual play, and was probably worn about the waist only on ritual occasions.

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ballcourt
Ballcourt

Ballcourt at Monte Alban

player and uniform
Player and Uniform

A yoke carved into a fanciful representation of a frog. This 40 lb (18 kg) stone carving is considered too heavy for actual play, and was probably worn about the waist only on ritual occasions.

A ball player from a Maya vase, 650-800 CE. This well-dressed player is wearing a large yoke, painted and fringed deerskin hip guards, and an extremely elaborate headdress. He is dropping onto his knee(pad) to strike the ball

ballcourt markers
Ballcourt Markers

Ballcourt goal, Chichén Itzá

popul vuh ballcourt and myth
Popul Vuh:Ballcourt and Myth

Hero Twins Hun Hunahpu (One Hunahpu) and Vuvub Hunahpu (Seven Hunahpu) love to throw dice and play ball in their masonry ballcourt with Hun Hunapuh’s sons, Hun Batz and Hun Chouen.

hero twins hunahpu and xbalanque
Hero Twins:Hunahpu and Xbalanque

Cylinder Vase, Peten, Guatemala, AD 593-830, Ceramic with red, white and black on yellow-cream slip, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

the hero twins
The Hero Twins
  • The earthly ballcourt is also the path to the gloomy netherworld realm of Xibalba.
  • Infuriated by incessant pounding on court above their heads, the lords of Xibalba send owls to summon Hunahpu and Xbalanque, the younger sons of Hun Hunahpu, to the underworld.
  • A monster beheads Hunahpu and the death gods challenges Xbalanque to a new ballgame with the head. Xbalanque manages to replace the head and the brothers defeat the gods.
  • In underworld the twins play ball with the death gods, and allow themselves to be beaten.
ballcourt marker
Ballcourt Marker
  • At Chinkultic in highland Chiapas, another Late Classic ballcourt marker depicts a ballplayer dressed in death symbols striking the ball with his hips.
  • Incised on this ball is the head of Hunahpu.
slide13
These markers suggest that the Mayans reenacted the mythological game on their ballcourts.
sacrifice of the player
Sacrifice of the Player

One of a series of murals from the South Ballcourt at El Tajin, showing the sacrifice of a ballplayer.