Athletics

Jaina figureJaina figurePublished in Blood of Kings as a ball player. He may also be an executioner.

Ancient Maya (Jaina, Mexico), n.d.
Clay, 14.3 cm
Mayavase K2860
© Justin Kerr
Ballgame player vesselBallgame player vesselAncient Maya (Santa Cruz de Quiché, Guatemala), A.D. 300-900
Clay
Courtesy, National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution 123347.000
Dwarf weightlifterDwarf weightlifterIt is reported that stones marking the katun were moved from village to village.

Ancient Maya (Jaina, Mexico), n.d.
Clay, paint
Mayavase K8237
© Justin Kerr
Jaina figureBallgame player vesselDwarf weightlifter

The skill of artists also included their execution of human body mass, muscle, and energy. This group of figures illustrates the physical actions involved in ancient Maya sports, such as the ritualized ballgame and weightlifting. The figures exemplify deep concentration and engagement. The vessel figurine displays physical flexibility and strength.

The dwarf holds an enormous stone with his lower k’ab (arm) grasping the bottom. One can get a sense of heaviness when examining the pose of the figure. It is not known what sport this may depict, but dwarves were seen as good advice-givers to rulers. This figure may symbolize the intelligence of dwarves. Not only did artists craft such striking forms, but they also give us an idea of how such sports were performed.

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