Ceramic Sculpture of a Mesoamerican Ball Player
source: Wikimedia Commons
A photograph shows the back of a ceramic figurine of a Mesoamerican ball game player in full ceremonial costume. A large leather belt sometimes worn to protect the players’ hips can be seen depicted here, among many other ornate pieces of the costume.
Artifact: 550–850 AD
Photo: May 2012
This Mayan ceramic figurine, discovered in Guatemala, depicts a Mesoamerican ball game player. This sport was played by the Olmec and other Mesoamerican nations as early as 1600 BC, with many different variants among these cultures – sometimes even featuring ritualistic human sacrifice. The game primarily involved striking a ball back and forth volleyball-style using the hips. The player here can be seen wearing a large leather belt, worn sometimes to protect the hips.
At the time of photograph, this figurine was housed at the Las Angeles County Museum of Art.
Whittington, E. M. (2001). The sport of life and death: The Mesoamerican ballgame. New York: Thames & Hudson.
Cornell, T., & Allen, T. B. (2002). War and games. San Marino, R.S.M.: Center for Interdisciplinary Research on Social Stress.