Late Classic Maya
Usumacinta River area, Mexico or Guatemala
Ballcourt Panel, A.D. 700/800
43.2 x 25.1 cm (17 x 9.9 in.)
Ada Turnbull Hertle Fund, 1965.407
In Central America, the best-known sculptors are the Maya, who decorated their temples and sacred precincts with finely carved stone reliefs representing powerful dynastic rulers involved in various secular and religious activities. This fragmentary ball-court panel from the late eighth century shows two men, dressed in elaborate costumes, engaged in a ritual ball game. Surrounding the figures, and clearly set off from them, are fragments of hieroglyphs by which the Maya identified the players and the date on which the game occurred.