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Yoke

Arts of the Americas

U-shaped objects termed “yokes” by archaeologists are representations in stone of belts worn around a ball player’s hips. This example is decorated with symbolic images alluding to death, such as the human skeleton. The frog’s head at the front references the watery realm of the underworld. The hacha (literally, “axe,” for its resemblance to an axe head) was worn on the front of the belt. The monkey head may symbolize one of the half brothers of the Hero Twins of the Popol Vuh.


Objetos en forma de “U”, llamados “yugos” por los arqueólogos, son representaciones en piedra de los cinturones llevados en las caderas por los jugadores de pelota. Este ejemplo está decorado con imágenes simbólicas alusivas a la muerte, como el esqueleto humano. La cabeza de rana en la parte frontal hace referencia al reino acuático del inframundo. El hacha (llamada así por su semejanza a la cabeza de un hacha) se usaba al frente del cinturón. La cabeza de mono puede simbolizar a uno de los medios hermanos de los Héroes Gemelos del Popol Vuh.
CULTURE Totonac
MEDIUM Stone
  • Place Found: Veracruz, Mexico
  • DATES 700-900
    DIMENSIONS 3 15/16 x 12 13/16 x 15 3/4 in. (10 x 32.5 x 40 cm)
    COLLECTIONS Arts of the Americas
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    ACCESSION NUMBER 47.16.2
    CREDIT LINE Frank L. Babbott Fund
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Stone yoke or commemorative belt with carved images of a human skeleton, human heads, and a frog's head. Associated with the ball game. Condition: good.
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