An outstanding example of a type of ceramic vessel made in the Gulf Coast region of Veracruz, Mexico, between the seventh and ninth century, this covered bowl bears imagery related to the ancient form of competition or ritual that was played with a hard rubber ball in Mesoamerica for thousands of years. The game's rules and meaning changed with time and place. Two pairs of elaborately garbed ballplayers are depicted in relief on the sides and lid of this bowl from the Rio Blanco region of central Veracruz. Between the paired players on the sides, lordly personages sit within the coils of great serpents. Maya influence can be seen in the serene head that makes up the knob of the lid.
[Leonard Kaplan, Laguna Beach, CA, late 1950s–1961]; Joseph E. Normandeau, Malibu, CA, 1961–1969; Ronald D. Normandeau, Malibu, CA, 1969–2002; [Ancient Art of the New World, Inc., New York, until 2002]