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Ballgame player found at ceremonial centre of the Caxcan people

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Trista
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« on: July 02, 2011, 04:01:36 pm »

Ballgame player found at ceremonial centre of the Caxcan people




Father Ximénez's manuscript, written in the early 18th century, contains the oldest known text of Popol Vuh.


Image: Wikimedia commons
Ballgame player found at ceremonial centre of the Caxcan people
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Saturday, July 2, 2011  |  Featured, News

A second ballgame player similar to one discovered in 2010 was found in Cerro del Teul, Zacatecas, north-central Mexico. Researchers from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH Mexico) discovered the ballgame player, which, unlike the one found previously at the site in late 2010, has a head.

Historical evidence points to the possibility that only one of the pair was intended to have a head and could evoke a passage of Popol Vuh, the sacred book of the Maya people, related to divine twins.

The stone sculpture – dated between 900 and 1100 CE – represents the body of a ballgame player (1.75m high x 56cm diameter) and is almost complete. It was located in the south-western corner of the ballgame court under a collapsed wall.

    Cerro del Teul has a long period of uninterrupted occupation – from 200 BC to 1531 and is believed to be the ceremonial centre of the Caxcan people

Cerro del Teul has a long period of uninterrupted occupation – from 200 BC to 1531 and is believed to be the ceremonial centre of the Caxcan people.

Archaeologist Luis Martinez Mendez, in charge of excavations at the Cerro del Teul Ballcourt explained that so far the sculptures are unique in Mesoamerica. Previoulsy, only at Maya archaeological sites such as Tonina in Chiapas has this type of sculpture ever been found. However, the Maya finds represent captives and not actual players such as in Zacatecas.
Myth and symbolism

The widely known myth in Mesoamerica through the Popol Vuh Maya book states that the Lords of Xibalba required the presence of divine twins Hunahpu and Ixbalanque. Through an underground path, the brothers had to go through several tests and at the House of the Bat, Hunahpu was beheaded.

Ixbalanque, through bravery and skill brought his brother back to life, deceiving the Lords of Xibalba at the ballgame court.

Both figures show their right arm over their chests and the left over the abdomen. Shoulders are enhanced, probably representing the players’ attire of protective shoulder pads, yokes at the hips and long skirts.
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Trista
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« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2011, 04:03:01 pm »


19th century map

A map created by geodesic engineer Carl de Berghes called the Oriental Conjunct of Cerro del Teul and drawn up in the 19th century notes several Prehispanic structures, among them the ballgame court, with sculptures at the four corners. However, only a fragment of a shoulder has ever been found at the northern sector.

Archaeological research must wait until restorers from INAH National Coordination of Cultural Heritage Conservation lift and consolidate the sculpture because of its fragile condition.

Martinez remarked that the ballgame court first operated between 600 and 900 CE. A second stage developed between 900 and 1100 AD, when a different type of stone architectural style was used.

http://www.pasthorizonspr.com/index.php/archives/07/2011/ballgame-player-found-at-ceremonial-centre-of-the-caxcan-people
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