Image Resources | Currently on View in Michael and Patricia McCrory & Richard and Rebecca Feldman Gallery (K214)
This yoke depicts the body of a toad, which is associated with the Earth Dragon deity, a symbol of the earth, rulership and fertility.
Both sides of this yoke depict heads of jaguars, an animal associated with rulers.
The curved shape of the yoke symbolizes a cave, an entrance to the Underworld.
It is not known if heavy stone yokes, like this one, were used in play or if they appeared only during rituals.
Wooden and hide yokes, which have not survived, were used during the game to volley a solid rubber ball.
The ritual ballgame was a pervasive religious and political feature of ancient Mesoamerica, the region encompassing most of Mexico and neighboring Central America.
The game served to maintain the cosmic balance of the sun and planets, and the cycle of death and rebirth.
At one time, the partially missing end of this yoke depicted a head.
The face at the end of this yoke is one of the Hero Twins, gods who played the ballgame against the Lords of the Underworld, and defeated them with cunning and skill.
Sold in New York at Parke-Bornet Galleries (now Sotheby's) November 9, 1968, lot 77.