16. A Mayan Stone Emblem of a Ball-Game Knee-Guard

Central America, 1st millennium AD
Size: 13.5 cm wide

By comparison with the pre-Columbian ball-game, American football is a wimp’s game. Apart from its ferocity it had religious significance, which this stone emblem embodies. The ex-votos in churches and cathedrals are something of the same kind, but not quite, and therefore its precise significance escapes us.