Photographer's Note

The court is the only example we have in Mexico of how ritual space appeared throughout the Classic era (200 - 900 CE). This view is to the south. The lateral slopes contain sculpted tenons: at the south end, there are two shaped in the form of serpents' heads; centre, two more serpent heads; and north, two bound captives. (I will provide close-ups.) These actually served as scorecards. Serpent heads were attached to lateral walls up until 688 CE, and refer to the myth related in the Popol Vuh regarding astral movements. Moreover, the serpent heads symbolize the scepter of rulers, often depicted in the shape of K'awiil, God of Royal Lineages and of Maize.

The significance of 688 CE lies in the fact that this was the year that military forces from Palenque, under K'inich Kan Balam II (r 684 - 702 CE, son of Pacal the Great) invaded Toniná, taking its ruler captive. There was chaos at the site, with all representations of serpents and feathers destroyed and buried, as these symbols personified defeated warriors.

The ball court did not resume operation until 699 CE.

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Photo Information
  • Copyright: Ken Boulter (Sardonik) Silver Note Writer [C: 2 W: 0 N: 914] (1950)
  • Genre: Places
  • Medium: Color
  • Date Taken: 2013-11-19
  • Categories: Architecture
  • Exposure: f/9.0, 1/200 seconds
  • More Photo Info: view
  • Photo Version: Original Version
  • Date Submitted: 2014-08-10 4:42
Viewed: 663
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Additional Photos by Ken Boulter (Sardonik) Silver Note Writer [C: 2 W: 0 N: 914] (1950)
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