Fragment of a Ceremonial Ballgame Yoke

A work made of stone.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of stone.

Date:

A.D. 700/800

Artist:

Totonac
El Tajín and vicinity, northern Veracruz, Mexico

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.

On View

Arts of the Americas, Gallery 136

Artist

Veracruz, Classic

Title

Fragment of a Ceremonial Ballgame Yoke

Origin

El Tajín

Date

700 AD–800 AD

Medium

Stone

Dimensions

11.43 × 38.6 cm (4 1/2 × 15 1/5 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Ethel and Julian Goldsmith

Reference Number

1990.554.1

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email .

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