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Currently shown

Yoke: Earth Monster

Location

MEXICO, CENTRAL VERACRUZ

Era

Classic Veracruz (100 B.C.E.-1000)

Culture

Classic Veracruz

Title

Yoke: Earth Monster

Date

300-900 C.E.

Materials

Granite

Dimensions

12 x 38 x 42 cm

Credits

Purchase, inv. 1949.50.Ac.1

Collection

Archeology and World Cultures

Divided into two teams, ballgame players competed over a rubber ball that they had to return using only their hips, arms or thighs. In order to cushion the impact of the ball, which sometimes weighed several kilos, players wore a wide belt on which assorted protective accessories were fastened. Made of leather and other perishable materials, such accessories no longer exist, but various stone reproductions, including this yoke, are known. The symbolic aspect of the ballgame – the battle between the forces of life and death – is emphasized by this yoke’s form, an allusion to the “Earth Monster” whose maw represented the entrance to the underworld.

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