Hacha (Ballcourt Marker)



Hacha (Ballcourt Marker)




600 - 900 AD


Late Classic
Mesoamerica, Guatemala


Fine-grained granite
11 3/8 x 8 3/8 x 1 1/8 in. (28.9 x 21.3 x 2.8 cm)

Object Number



The Ancient Maya believed that humans had animal selves into which they could change during rituals. This ballcourt marker illustrates the way [why], or animal spirit concept. The marker represents a howler monkey, while others like it depict parrots, crocodiles, and humans. One theory is that teams representing animals competed against humans in a cosmic struggle meant to reenact Creation.

Credit Line

Gift of William C. and Carol W. Thibadeau


Pre-Columbian Art in Southern Collections, Huntsville Museum of Art, September 9 - October 28, 1979|
MCCM Permanent Collection Reinstallation, September 2002 - June 2012|
MCCM Permanent Collection Reinstallation, February 9, 2013 - Present
Pre-Columbian Art in Southern Collections, September 9 - October 28, 1979 (Huntsville: The Museum, 1979), 33, 45, number 44.|
Rebecca Stone-Miller, Seeing With New Eyes: Highlights of the Michael C. Carlos Museum Collection of Art of the Ancient Americas (Atlanta: Michael C. Carlos Museum, 2002), 25, figure 25.


© Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University. Photo by Michael McKelvey.
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On View



“Hacha (Ballcourt Marker),” Michael C. Carlos Museum Collections Online, accessed September 18, 2020, http://carlos.digitalscholarship.emory.edu/items/show/8673.

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