Ballgame Palma

Ballgame Palma

c. 900–1100


Overall: 49.2 x 23.5 x 11.4 cm (19 3/8 x 9 1/4 x 4 1/2 in.)

Weight: 6.64 kg (14.64 lbs.)

Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1973.3

Did you know?

The Mesoamerican ballgame was played with a hard rubber ball that players bounced off their hips.


Stone palmas—so-called today for their palm frond-like shape—are ceremonial sculptures that may replicate lightweight gear worn over the chest during the ballgame. The scene on the back of this palma vividly illustrates the tie between the ballgame and sacrifice. A bat descends from the top, clutching severed human body parts, and at the center an upright figure brandishes a blade over a reclining victim. The scene's many animal figures, including the one on the front, may belong to ballgame mythology that now is lost.


Interpreting the Imagery
The Ballgame
See also
AA - Mesoamerica
Art of the Americas
Type of artwork: 

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