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Rare / Impressive Mayan Limestone Ball Court Marker

Pre-Columbian, Mayan Territory, probably Mexico, ca. 400 to 500 CE. A rare and quite exceptional limestone ballgame marker. Ancient art from the Mayan world shows that three such markers were set at the center and end of each court. Based on the size and shape, it appears that these were transported to each game, and could perhaps represent the "home or visiting" teams. Work conducted by the Center for Mayan Research seems to indicate this marker came from the lowlands of Mexico; Yucatan,Campeche or Quintana Roo. This particular marker shows a kneeling captive, bound at the wrist and wearing an emblematic device on his back. Around him are approximately 16 carved glyphs - the glyphs begins on the upper right, more or less behind the figure (if you look at the stone with the captive upright) where four small dots appear in a line. This is the number coefficient on the opening day sign (Glyph A). The text of sixteen glyphs runs counter-clockwise around the stone. The date looks like it might be 4 Imix 9 Keh. The event being commemorated is some sort of dedication, perhaps of the building or court where the stone was originally set, or of the altar itself. The word is pet, meaning to “encircle,” which is obviously suggestive of the stone’s shape. A personal name appears in block G, an animal head located just in front of the captives bound hands. This looks like it might be the name of the Tikal ruler K’an Chitam, but it’s not an obvious identification. The text goes on to repeat the pet verb and then gives what might be a place name or temple name. Custom stand. Size: 23 x 3.5" (58.4 cm x 8.9 cm)

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Condition: Wear to surface as expected but glyphs generally quite clear and readable

Provenance: ex-Alan Davis collection, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA; ex-Splendors of the World, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA, collected in the 1970s

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