About this artwork
Played throughout Mesoamerica, the ceremonial ballgame was a sport as well as a ritual substitute for war in which sacrifice was often the final outcome. Players were required to propel a heavy rubber ball with their hips, thighs, shoulders, and lower arms. A yoke, made of padded leather or wood, was worn at mid-body to protect the torso and direct the ball. Carved stone yokes were intended as ceremonial emblems or trophies and were not used in actual play. At least eleven ballcourts have been discovered at El Tajín, suggesting that the city may have been a sort of Olympic center as well as a ruling capital.
- Veracruz, Classic
- Fragment of a Ceremonial Ballgame Yoke
- El Tajín
- 700 CE–800 CE
- 11.43 × 38.6 cm (4 1/2 × 15 1/5 in.)
- Gift of Ethel and Julian Goldsmith