The Ritual Ball Game
Ball Court at Chichen-Itza
  1. The Ball Court at Chichén-Itzá (from Splendours)

    The same ritual ball game is found throughout the cultures of Mesoamerica. It may have originated with the Olmec culture, or perhaps even earlier. Walls surrounded the court and supported the spectator seating area on either side. A ball court was always situated in a choice location in a city's center, as in this image from Chichén-Itzá. Various stories and myths portrayed the game as a conflict between the day and night deities. The ball was considered a representative of the sun (or the moon, or other celestial bodies), while the scoring rings represented thresholds: sunrise, sunset, and equinoxes. Sacrifice was sometimes associated with the ball game.

Codex Borbonicus
  1. Codex Borbonicus, page 27

    The basic elements of a ball court are clearly depicted in this drawing from the Borbonicus. The court was shaped like a capital I (a long rectangle with a crossbar at each end), and the vertically-mounted round hoops for scoring were in the center of the field at either side of the court.

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