Mayan ball court marker to see $175,000 with Artemis Gallery

An ancient Mayan court marker used during the famous "Mesoamerican ballgame" is to sell at Artemis Gallery on October 24 in Boulder, Colorado.

The Mayan ball game was notoriously difficult, with players often sacrificed after a game

The limestone disc is carved with a scene of a seated lord in attendance and is one of the most exciting pieces ever handled by Artemis. It holds an estimate of $125,000-175,000.

The game, known to scholars as the Mesoamerican ballgame, was played by pre-Columbian people from 1,400 BC onwards. It was a famously difficult game to play, with players striking the solid rubber ball - weighing as much as 4kg - with their hips.

The game frequently contained ritual aspects, including human sacrifice.

The markers were placed along the centreline of the court, with rulers bringing examples to bestow good luck upon their time. This example dates to AD 550-800 and comes with fantastic provenance, having formerly been part of the collection of the Denver Art Museum.

The second highest bids of the sale are expected to be seen by a 2nd-3rd century AD Palmyrian limestone portrait of a prince, which "looks like he should be on a Hollywood set", according to executive director Teresa Dodge.

A fantastically detailed piece, it is expected to sell for $30,000-40,000.

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