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Rattle in the Form of a Ball Player


Rattle in the Form of a Ball Player
Rattle in the Form of a Ball Player
6th-9th century
The John R. Van Derlip Fund

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The Popol Vuh, the 16th century sacred book of the Maya, contains the story of the Hero Twins on earth, Hunahpu and Xbalanque, who were disturbing the Lords of the Underworld with their incessant bouncing of their heavy rubber ball. The Lords decided to entice the Twins below to Xibalba (the Underworld), hoping to do away with them. So they challenged the Twins to a game, and persuaded them to use the ball the Lords provided. After the ball was put into play, a dagger emerged from it to slaughter the Hero Twins. But through a series of clever tricks of their own, the Twins managed to emerge victorious from the Underworld, and eventually became the Sun and the Moon.1

1 A complete description of the ball game and several objects in The Minneapolis Institute of Arts' collection related to it can be found in: Phyllis Mauch Messenger, "A Day at the Ball Game," Arts (January: 1989), 16-18. See also: Allen Wardwell, "A Mayan Ball Game Relief," Museum Studies 2 (Chicago: The Art Institute of Chicago, 1967), 62-73. Return to Text

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