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III. Great Ball Court The Great Ball Court, located on the northwest area of the main plaza, is one of the most important groups of buildings at Chichén Itzá. The large quantity and fine quality of the ball court sculptures, and the historical implications attendant with either an early or a late date in the stylistic sequence of the site, make the Great Ball Court crucial to the study of the architectural history of Chichén Itzá. Because of the high quality of the ball court sculptures, an early date for the ball court would indicate a gradual decline in the technical quality of sculpture at Chichén Itzá following its completion. This concept of a progressive decline in the technical quality of carving could not be maintained if the ball court buildings were late constructions. A late date for the ball court would indicate that the finest sculpture at Chichén Itzá was not attained until late in the site’s history. It is perhaps less likely that the Great Ball Court was constructed in the middle period of the sequence on the Great Plaza, at the time of the building of the Chac Mool Temple and the Temple of the Warriors and their associated sculptures. The carvings appear simply too distinct.

The Great Ball Court from the Castillo

Kubler argued a late date for the ball court, following the construction of the Chac Mool Temple and the Temple of the Warriors, and he suggested such a final flourish of fine sculpture would indicate an artistic renaissance (1962). An early date for the ball court, on the other hand, with its attendant concept of later artistic decline, is the traditional view (Kubler 1962:183). Tozzer believed the ball court to be an early construction (1930, 1957), and Proskouriakoff tends to 40

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Architecture and Chronology at Chichén Itzá, Yucatán  

Architecture and Chronology at Chichén Itzá, Yucatán