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Anthropology Museum

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Ball game

What we see in this gallery are elements of the ball game that was practiced by almost all the Mesoamerican peoples. In particular, this object is the goal where the ball or ball had to be introduced. This football or rather racketball of the time was not only a sport but had ritual connotations, practicing it in everyday life and in religious celebrations. The idea was to show the dangers that the sun-faced in its journey through the universe.

The rules of the ball game are not completely known, but the goal was to keep the ball in play. If the ball were to fall, it was a bad sign since for many historians the ball was a symbol that alluded to the sun. Stone hoops are a late addition to the game. This addition changed the game completely since you could get an immediate victory by putting the ball in the basket, or you could get points simply if the ball touched the basket. The rubber ball in movement represented the trajectories of the sacred stars: Sun, Moon, and Venus. The winner of the game was protected and supported by the gods, although in reality there is a doubt whether those who won were sacrificed or losers. In the area of ​Monte Alban, the game was developed at the level of the floor of the court, hit the ball with the hip, elbows, and knees to make the ball pass from one side to another.

Ball game fields were found throughout Mesoamerica, as far south as Nicaragua, and possibly as far north as present-day Arizona in the United States. These ball game fields vary considerably in size, but all have long narrow tracks with side walls used to bounce the ball.

Anthropology Museum