The Maya ballgame was a very serious event.
When played simply as a game, the king may
have participated. As a cosmic metaphor the ball
represented the trajectory of heavenly bodies,
and the king was the agent who set their course.
However, this spectacle was often more than
metaphor and included captive enemies as
opposing players who forfeited their lives if they
lost. The ball itself was made of hard, solid
rubber. When projected with force it could be a
lethal weapon. Therefore, the players wore
protective gear in the form of a thick 'yoke'
around the waist and possibly the hacha. This
beautiful hacha is both a sculpture and practical
device. The double profile shows a man deep in
concentration, his eyes intensely watching,
waiting for the moment to strike. The sweeping
furrows at the sides of his face give the
impression of tense muscles and exertion of
energy. Given the weight of most hachas, they
may have been used only for ceremonial