CEREMONIAL BELT IN THE SHAPE OF A YOKE
VERACRUZ – Mexico
450 – 750 A.D.
Height : 11.5 cm - Width : 38.1 cm - Depth : 33.0 cm
Ceremonial belt in the shape of a yoke, deeply carved and representing a toad.
This yoke belongs to the category of "yokes-toads", a classification based on the iconography of the main motif. Indeed, the rounded end of the yoke is the head of a toad, probably the buffalo toad, or bufo marinus, with its gaping mouthand its tongue hanging down. This type of amphibian is best known for its parotoid glands, located on the shoulders of the animal, which secrete a highly toxic substance, used by shamans for its hallucinogenic qualities.
The head of the animal has stylized features. The wide mouth, the interior of which is left raw, is wide open, showing the upper gum limed and tongue thrust out. The nose, with deeply engraved nostrils, is crushed on the upper jaw. On each side, above the commissures of the mouth, there are the large oblong eyes of the toad, globular and left raw. The eyes of the classic yokes-toads were systematically left raw in order to contrast with the polished surface of the rest of the yoke and thus make the animal all the more expressive. The thick and prominent eyebrows are represented on the upper part of the yoke. This symmetrical feature is characteristic of toad-shaped yokes.
The folded legs are shown on each side of the yoke. They are deeply carved. The whole body of the animal is delicately chiseled by repeating the curved and rounded shapes
The yoke is one of the three elements of the ritual game of the ball with the hacha and the palma. It is actually a stone replica of the leather protectors worn by the players.