Mayan ball court marker to make $120,000?

A Mayan limestone ball court marker used in the Mesoamerican ballgame is expected to make $80,000-120,000 at Artemis Gallery on September 22.

The lot shows a depiction of a bound captive, while a series of glyphs around the outside appear to show the name of the ruler K'an Chitan of Tikal (although this is not certain).

Mayan ballgame Artemis
The Mayan ballgame had important ritual significance

It's believed to date to around AD 400-500 and was one of three such markers placed on the court - one in the middle and one at either end.

They are thought to have been brought to the arenas by visiting teams.

The ballgame, also known as pok-a-tok, is played on a court made up of two opposing ramps. In the middle of each ramp is a hoop.

The opposing teams would try and get the ball through their hoop without using their hands.

While it was often played for fun, it was also used to settle important conflicts between the peoples of the region. On occasion, games would end with the ritual sacrifice of the entire losing side.

The game itself could be extremely dangerous.

Spanish conquistadors in the 16th century recorded that players were sometimes killed after being hit by the solid rubber ball.  

The sale includes a wealth of rare items from across world history, including an extremely scarce French Empress dragoon helmet worn at the Battle of Waterloo (1815).

It's valued at $75,000-100,000.

We have a genuine strand of Napoleon Bonaparte's hair for sale.

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Sale price£3,995
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