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Lot 353 - Auction 115

30.000,00/40.000,00 €
Starting price:
15.000,00 EUR
Price realized:
17.000,00 EUR

Mexico, Veracruz classical culture, 550-950 AD

The yoke with a horseshoe shape, the stone carved with a stylized representation of a toad.

42 x 36 x 13,5 cm

Provenance: ancient collection of Ricardo Hecht Otcha; Galerie Le Corneur Roudillon, rue Bonaparte 1958; collection of Mrs. B.D.M .; Bretagne-Encheres, Rennes, May 16, 2006, lot 321; Italian private collection.

This yoke is a splendid and rare example of an artifact used in those rituals that followed the ball game in the area of Veracruz.
Already practiced by the Olmecs, this game was played using a heavy and very hard rubber ball, and for this reason the athletes wore knee pads and leather belts to soften its impact on the body. The stone yokes reproduced those belts, and it is not impossible that the strongest of the players wore this heavy artifact in the following rituals.
There are simple ones, but the most admired are undoubtedly the worked ones, often with a decoration that refers to animals with a strong symbolic meaning, such as the toad.
The matches themselves had a strong symbolic and political significance, and usually at the end of the game some of the players were beheaded in a bloody sacrifice.
Europeans became acquainted with this ball game in 1528, when a match was held in honor of Charles V between Mexican players sent to Spain by Hernán Cortés. The event greatly struck bystanders, and a graphic memory of it remains in some paintings by Christoph Weiditz.


Lot status:
Auction closed