Overall: 41.5 x 37.5 x 11 cm (16 5/16 x 14 3/4 x 4 5/16 in.)
Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund 1973.213
The ballgame was a team sport played on specially constructed rectangular courts and involved striking a large solid rubber ball without using your hands.
U-shaped ballgame sculptures imitate the shape of belt-like protectors, perhaps made of wood and padding, worn to shield ballplayers from injury when they returned the solid rubber ball from their hips. This fine example embodies a major theme of the ballgame: the connection between fertility and death. It is made of greenstone, a precious material that through its color symbolizes the lush burgeoning of nature after the rainy season. The imagery, however, is menacing: a monstrous head snarls from the curve, and human skulls appear on the sides.
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