Bird Head, carved basalt relief (called Hacha), El Tajin style

Hacha, c. 600-900 CE



The William Hood Dunwoody Fundexpand_more  64.26

Not on Viewexpand_more

Players of Mesoamerican ballgames wore u-shaped yokes around their hips made of cotton, wood, or leather to deflect the rubber ball in this no-hands team sport. Yokes made of carved stone were worn in opening and closing ceremonies for the game. Hachas were ornaments that attached to players' yokes during these ceremonies. The notch at the bottom of the hacha allowed it to sit atop the yoke encircling the player's hips. The ring around the eye of this bird hacha identifies it as a parrot or macaw, a possible reference to the supreme ball players known as the Hero Twins. They are the main characters of the Popol Vuh, the Maya creation story. The Popol Vuh is an important source of information on many ballgame-related objects throughout Mesoamerica.

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Bird Head, carved basalt relief (called Hacha), El Tajin style