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Title: http://linux1.tlc.north.denver.k12.co.us/~gmoreno/gmoreno/Mesoamerican_Bal


1
Teotihuacan
  • http//www.youtube.com/watch?vSGZ4AwqUQWEfeature
    related

2
Mesoamerican Ballgame
  • Game of Life and Death

3
The Mesoamerican Ballgame
  • In Mexico, which was the heartland of the ancient
    ballgame tradition, well over 600 stone
    ballcourts have been found
  • Both a competitive contest and a ritual ceremony,
    the game held religious as well as secular
    significance for players and spectators. 
  • Called tlachtli by the Aztecs, game played with
    hard rubber ball.
  • Spanish document stone rings as goals, but those
    dating before 700 A.D. do not have them.

http//linux1.tlc.north.denver.k12.co.us/gmoreno/
gmoreno/Mesoamerican_Ballgame.html
4
Ballcourts
  • These courts averaged 120 by 30 feet, though some
    were small enough to contain only two players at
    a time and a few others were as large as a modern
    football field.
  • Typically I-shaped courts, balls weighing up to 5
    pounds.
  • ball had to be kept in motion
  • could not be hit with hands or feet in some
    versions
  • associated with fertility, death, militarism and
    sacrifice.
  • sacrifice of defeated team members documented in
    late accounts.

5
Ballcourt
6
Ballgame in Codices
http//www.ulama.freehomepage.com/
7
Playing the Game
  • On each side of a playing alley were two long
    parallel walls against which a rubber ball was
    resounded and bounced from team to team.
  • Points were scored when opposing ball players
    missed a shot at the vertical hoops placed at the
    center point of the side walls, were unable to
    return the ball to the opposing team before it
    had bounced a second time, or allowed the ball to
    bounce outside the boundaries of the court.

http//linux1.tlc.north.denver.k12.co.us/gmoreno/
gmoreno/Mesoamerican_Ballgame.html
8
Playing the Game (cond)
  • The ball itself was of solid rubber and weighed
    around 6 pounds injuries or even death could
    occur from its impact on vital parts of the body.
  • A number of ways of playing the game are known
    one used a bat, another used a paddle or padded
    hands to hit the ball and still another allowed
    the ball to be kicked with the feet. 
  • However, in the dominant and best known form of
    the game, the ball could only be struck with the
    hips, buttocks, knees, or elbows. It drew many
    spectators and almost always involved heavy
    gambling.

http//linux1.tlc.north.denver.k12.co.us/gmoreno/
gmoreno/Mesoamerican_Ballgame.html
9
Equipment
  • During the playing of the Mesoamerican ballgame,
    athletes wore special equipment to protect them
    from injury and to help deflect and hit the
    ball. 
  • Equipment needs varied somewhat over time but
    most commonly headresses or helmets protected the
    head, quilted cotton pads covered the elbows and
    knees and heavy belts or yokes, probably of
    leather or basketry, were worn around the waist. 
  • These yokes, however, and special items known as
    Palmas, Hachas and Manoplas were also made in
    heavy stone and are clearly associated with the
    ancient ballgame. 

http//linux1.tlc.north.denver.k12.co.us/gmoreno/
gmoreno/Mesoamerican_Ballgame.html
10
Equipment (cond)
  • Manoplas, or handstones, would have been useful
    in hitting the ball or protecting a participants
    hand as he fell to the floor of the court in
    play. 
  • Palmas and hachas, however, seemto have have
    little purpose in the game. 
  • The palmas, shown worn at the front of the yoke,
    are too fragile to have survived the rigorous
    play. 
  • The hachas, which dangle from the belt or yoke,
    at first glance also seem useless adornments. 

http//linux1.tlc.north.denver.k12.co.us/gmoreno/
gmoreno/Mesoamerican_Ballgame.html
11
Players
Monument With Decapitated Ballplayer, Early
Postclassic Period, Veracruz, c. A.D. 900-1200
Ballplayer Wearing Deer Headdress, Late Classic
Period, Maya, A.D. 700-900
http//www.newarkmuseum.org/ballgame/
12
Stakes of the Game
  • At the end of the ritual competition the captain
    of the defeated team actually lost his head
    (although some scholars argue it was the winner
    who was sacrificed). 
  • In illustrations from Precolumbian books such as
    the Codex Borgia and on carved stone friezes
    decorating the parallel walls of magnificent
    ballcourts at the sites of Chichen Itza and El
    Tajin, the decapitation of one team captain by
    the other, or by a priest, is clearly depicted.

http//linux1.tlc.north.denver.k12.co.us/gmoreno/
gmoreno/Mesoamerican_Ballgame.html
13
Role of the Game
  • The Mesoamerican ballgame had its origin in the
    the cosmic view and religious beliefs of the
    prehispanic peoples. 
  • The most common interpretation sees the ball and
    its movement in the court as the movement of
    heavenly bodies in the sky. 
  • The game is viewed as a battle between the sun,
    and its life giving principle of light, against
    the moon and stars who represent the principle of
    darkness. The opposing forces of day and night,
    dark and light, good and evil, life and death are
    symbolically acted out on the ballcourt.  
  • Clearly associated with this view of the game is
    the cult of fertility, the enduring need of
    agricultural peoples for the productivity of the
    earth which depends on the lifegiving warmth and
    light of the sun.
  • Human sacrifice by decapitation is a recurring
    theme associated with ballcourts and ballgame
    imagery. The streams of blood that spurt from the
    decapitated victim may be seen as fertilizing the
    earth or perhaps as an offering of sustenance to
    the sun in its battle against the forces of
    night.

http//linux1.tlc.north.denver.k12.co.us/gmoreno/
gmoreno/Mesoamerican_Ballgame.html
14
Mayan Hero Twins
  • In the Maya region this cosmic battle is seen in
    the creation myth of twin brothers who play a
    ballgame in the underworld against the gods of
    death and pestilence. 
  • heir victory against the forces of darkness
    resulted in their ascension into the sky, one
    becoming the sun and the other the moon. 
  • This legendary game of the hero twins may have
    been reenacted on the ballcourts of the Classic
    Maya period by Maya kings dressed as
    ballplayers. 
  • In the final act of the game, the winners
    sacrificed their royal opponents, who had been
    taken captive in battle in preperation for the
    staging of the event, thus reinforcing the power
    of the victorious rulers.
  • Among the Maya the court seems to have been
    viewed as the entrance to the underworld the
    opening in the earth where the hero twins
    descended to Xibalba to challenge the gods on the
    ballcourt.

http//linux1.tlc.north.denver.k12.co.us/gmoreno/
gmoreno/Mesoamerican_Ballgame.html
15
Watch a Ballgame
  • http//www.ballgame.org/sub_section.asp?section3
    sub_section1
  • http//www.youtube.com/watch?vTXMN60ndkfc
  • http//www.youtube.com/watch?vxnFjsbn36QI
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