get the ball through here
Museo de America
The Legendary Ball Game
|Madrid for kids|
The Aztecs and the Mayans both had versions of this ritual game. And just like Grand Final Matches now, the Aztec and Mayan games attracted huge crowds who cheered and jeered. The Ball court itself was a magical place, believed to stand over the entrance to the underworld. The game was like a reenactment of the contest between the Gods of Fertility and Death and may have had agricultural or militaristic purposes. The players got to dress as the Gods in what was a sacrificial game. Players were often so badly bruised they had to have the injuries 'bled'.
The referee used a conch shell and the crowd shook maracas, feasted, listened to bands. Dignitaries came when games were played between cities. A little like the World Cup.
This vessel is from the southern Maya Lowlands. It has information on the equipment required for the game, including leg protection, the padded white waist yoke, and upper-body costume. This is an example of pre-game ceremonial garb,