A stone carving from the main ball court at El Tajin
, Veracruz, Mexico shows a scene of human heart sacrifice.
Stone carving from main ball court at El Tajin, Veracruz, Mexico shows a human heart sacrifice.
We don't know the details of the ancient team sport played with a rubber ball in ancient Mesoamerica. Rings or hoops on either side of the ball field are thought to be a late innovation. A clay model found of the game shows what appear to be two teams of three, with possibly a referee and goals marked on the field.
Sacrifice of the loser may sometimes have been part of the Maya version of the ball game. This carving from El Tajin shows the victim, drugged with maquey, shown growing in the background along with death gods. Around the victim stand priests in the garb of ballplayers. The one on the right is cutting out the victim's heart.
[Source: www.ballgame.org/sub_section.asp?section=2&sub_section=3 "The Mesoamerican Ball Game"]