The form of sacred ballgame played in the 5th-6th centuries throughout the Tiquisate area of ancient Guatemala featured distinct aspects not present in the Maya nor-Teotihuacan versions.

Although the Tiquisate area is near enough to the Mayan Highlands and hence had potential trade contact with the Peten Maya Lowlands, the three areas had different balllgame rituals. The yoke and hacha was a key aspect of ballgame ritual throughout Tiquisate but rare in the Tikal Lowland area. Although many aspects of Tiquisate art attempt to emulate Teotihuacan art, decapitation is commonly featured on Tiquisate scenes but uncommon at Teotihuacan.

Tiquisate Mayan ballgame
Maya ballgame

The above image is a snapshot of a laser printout of the rollout. Color laser printers are a better way to reproduce these than inkjet because Epson inkjet prints fade in a few weeks.

The FLAAR Photo Archive has worked to preserve photographic records of as many Tiquisate ballplayer vases as possible. Over the last two seasons in Guatemala we have done direct digital rollouts of the key ballgame vases from the Museo Popol Vuh. An initial sample is pictured here. All of these vases are pictured in a 1980's publication by Nicholas Hellmuth specifically on ballplayer scenes from Tiquisate. The title is listed in the book inventory on

Other Tiquisate art is pictured elsewhere in this web site. The Tiquisate inhabitants did not speak a Mayan language. Tiquisate is an intrusive culture derived from a mixture of Teotihuacan, Veracruz, Oaxacan, and other elements combined with local Guatemalan culture of the Costa Sur and Lake Amatitlan areas. After this fascinating period of development during the Early Classic, several centuries later, during the Late Classic into the early Post Classic, other eclectic art styles developed in the Escuintla piedmont and coastal plains.



Last update, July, 2003.
Page first posted Feb. 28, 2000.

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