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Ballgame Vessel

Ballgame Vessel

Ballgame Vessel

Ballgame Vessel

Date: c.700–800

Culture: Maya

Period: Late Classic period, 600–909

Medium: ceramic with slip
9 1/16 x 6 7/8 in. (23 x 17.5 cm)
Credit Line: Gift of Morton D. May
Object Number: 216:1979
Place made:central Lowlands, Guatemala
Classification: CERAMICS
Current Location:On View, Gallery 114
Notes:The large black circle and horizontal red stripes on this cylindrical vessel represent a hard rubber ball bouncing down the steps of a Maya ball court. The ballplayers gape at the ball while various spectators gesture towards it, avidly watch, gossip, or play instruments in the stands. This sense of dynamic spectacle is unusual in representations of the ballgame. The ballgame story on this vessel unfolds in sections as the viewer examines the scene, guided by the diagonal placement of the figures. The hieroglyphs seen throughout are loosely rendered, as though the scribe emulated the speed of the game.

Provenance- 1969
Everett Rassiga, Inc., New York, NY, USA [1]

1969 - 1979
Morton D. May (1914-1983), St. Louis, MO, purchased from Everett Rassiga [2]

1979 -
Saint Louis Art Museum, given by Morton D. May [3]

[1] An invoice dated January 28, 1969, records the purchase of "One Maya Vessel" with handwritten additions "depicting ballgame" and "SLAM 73.4", referring to the loan number for the vessel [SLAM document files].

[2] See note [1].

[3] A letter dated July 5, 1979 from Morton D. May to James N. Wood, director of the Saint Louis Art Museum, includes the offer of this object as part of a larger donation [SLAM document files]. Minutes of the Acquisitions Committee of the Board of Trustees, Saint Louis Art Museum, October 10, 1979.
Exhibition History
Title: Art Walk: A Moving Experience
Date: November 14, 1991 - January 5, 1992
Venue: SLAM

Publication History
Title: Maya: Divine Kings of the Rain Forest
Year Published: 2001

Title: Programs
Periodical Title: Saint Louis Art Museum Magazine
Edition: January - February
Year Published: 1995

Title: A New View: Ancient American Art
Periodical Title: Saint Louis Art Museum Magazine
Year Published: 2013

Title: The God-Kings of Mexico
Year Published: 1982

Title: Ulama The Perpetuation in Mexico of the Pre-Spanish Ball Game Ullamaliztli
Year Published: 1978

Title: See for Yourself: Highlights of the Collection
Periodical Title: A Gallery Guide for The Saint Louis Art Museum
Year Published: 1990

Title: Maya Art Classroom and Museum Activity Book
Year Published: 1994

Title: Pre-Columbian Art: The Morton D. May and the Saint Louis Art Museum Collections
Year Published: 1980

Title: Saint Louis Art Museum: Handbook of the Collection
Year Published: 2004

Title: Art: A Comparative Study
Year Published: 1994

Title: A New Monument Mentioning Wamaaw K'awiil
Periodical Title: The PARI Journal
Year Published: 2007

Title: The Maya Vase Book: A Corpus of Rollout Photographs of Maya Vessels
Year Published: 1997

Title: Painting the Maya Universe : Royal Ceramics of the Classic Period
Year Published: 1994

Title: The Sport of Life and Death: The Mesoamerican Ballgame
Year Published: 2001

Title: A World History of Art
Edition: 7
Year Published: 1991

Title: Museum Expansion Update : On View : Collection Highlights
Periodical Title: Saint Louis Art Museum Magazine
Edition: October - December
Year Published: 2008

Title: A World History of Art
Edition: 5
Year Published: 1999

Title: The Ancient American Installation at the Saint Louis Art Museum
Periodical Title: Tribal Art
Edition: Autumn
Year Published: 2013

Title: A Guide to Ancient Maya Ruins
Year Published: 1974

Title: Reading Maya Art: A Hieroglyphic Guide to Ancient Maya Painting and Sculpture
Year Published: 2011

In Collection(s)