Maya ballplayer figurine, fired clay, Late Classic, A.D. 600-700, about 3 inches tall.
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The blue color of this figurine is a rare pigment known as " Mayan Blue." Use the search engine to locate books on thousand-year old Maya painting methods from the Art and Archaeology Book Service.
This figurine is hollow, since solid clay would fracture in the process of heating in the kiln and subsequent cooling. At the back of the figure you can see holes; at the bottom is a mouthpiece to blow on. Most of these figures are whistles or ocarinas (again, to get literature on any subject, such as Maya music, use the search engine within this Web site to locate books on this and other topics).
Figures of this class are best known from the sacred burial island of Jaina, Campeche, Mexico. Almost every museum in the world, and most ever art book on Maya archaeology, pictures Jaina style figurines. This particular figure, however, is from Guatemala.
This individual wears a special outfit used in the favorite sport of the Classic Maya, the sacred rubber ballgame. Our Book Service has tons of books on the native games of pre-Hispanic cultures. Also, our institute offers colorful slide shows on this exciting sport.
This game was played using rubber from the rubber trees, which is a local species in the tropical rain forest. Rubber was also used in religious rituals, to make dolls, and to burn (sort of like incense). Hopefully native Maya rubber smelled somewhat better than old tires today. Of course their rubber was natural, not chemical, and not vulcanized.
This page will take almost 10 minutes on a 28.8 modem. If you enjoy Mayan archaeology it will be worth the wait. If you are unable to open another browser window and will be staring at this page for the next ten minutes you might want something to read. Or maybe you are wondering what is a QuickTime VR object and why should I wait for this huge file to download.? QuickTime VR is part of Apple Computers Media layer technology. This object was created from 36 photos (35mm) spaced 10 degrees apart. By clicking and holding down the mouse on the object you can rotate it through 360 degrees of horizontal motion. This allows anyone in the world to examine this rare and precious artifact simply by downloading this page. If you have put off upgrading your browser technology, or the QuickTime plug-in, this would be a good reason to do so. There are thousands of QuickTime files on the world wide web. Future QuickTime files will feature audio, interactivity, and increased resolution with smaller file sizes. If you cannot experience this object we have provided a link to a GIF animation(296.7K) of the object in motion. Most browsers can display GIF anims. You will not however be able to control or interact with the object. The entire animation will take 210 seconds to download with a 28.8 modem.