Art/ Collection/ Art Object
{{img.publicCaption}}

Seated Ballplayer

Date:
1st century B.C.–A.D. 3rd century
Geography:
Mexico, Mesoamerica, Jalisco
Culture:
Ameca-Etzatlán
Medium:
Ceramic
Dimensions:
H. 19 5/8 x W. 13 in. (49.8 x 33 cm)
Ball: Diam. 8.5 cm
Classification:
Ceramics-Sculpture
Credit Line:
Gift of The Andrall and Joanne Pearson Collection, 2005
Accession Number:
2005.91.1
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 358
Images of ballplayers were made in ancient Mexico for millennia. The game, played with a large rubber ball, was fast paced and had many layers of meaning—and it was always a significant male activity. Depictions of both game and players appear in the ceramic sculptures of Jalisco, a state on the west coast of Mexico, where such works were produced in the centuries around the turn of the first millennium when their makers flourished. This impressive seated player, in the Ameca-Etzatlan style of Jalisco, holds the large ball reverentially high, in a manner of presentation. His short "pants," a typical player costume, protect the lower body as the ball was propelled with the hips low to the ground. In remote areas of Mexico a game was played in this manner well into the twentieth century.
The ceramic sculpture of Jalisco was used as funerary offerings in the tombs of members of important families. It is conjectured that depictions of ballplayers were meant to accompany the burial of a man who had been a skilled player.
#1603. Seated Ballplayer
For Audio Guide tours and information, visit metmuseum.org/audioguide.
Andrall E. and Joanne P. Pearson, Greenwich, CT, until 2005

Butterwick, Kristi. Heritage of Power: Ancient Sculpture From West Mexico: The Andrall E. Pearson Family Collection. New York, New Haven, London: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2004, 1, 38-39.

Related Objects

Seated Figure

Artist: Date: 12th–9th century B.C.
Accession Number: 1979.206.1134
Date: 12th–9th century B.C. Medium: Ceramic, pigment Accession: 1979.206.1134 On view in:Gallery 358

Kneeling Female Figure

Artist: Date: 15th–early 16th century
Accession Number: 00.5.16
Date: 15th–early 16th century Medium: Stone, pigment Accession: 00.5.16 On view in:Gallery 358

Covered jar

Artist: Date: ca. 1675–1700
Accession Number: 2015.45.2a, b
Date: ca. 1675–1700 Medium: Earthenware, burnished, with white paint and silver leaf Accession: 2015.45.2a, b On view in:Gallery 749

Figure

Artist: Date: 7th–10th century
Accession Number: 2009.12
Date: 7th–10th century Medium: Ceramic, hematite Accession: 2009.12 On view in:Gallery 358

Costumed Figure

Artist: Date: 7th–8th century
Accession Number: 1979.206.953
Date: 7th–8th century Medium: Ceramic, pigment Accession: 1979.206.953 On view in:Gallery 358