Art & Artists / Highlights / Yoke (yugo) in toad form

Yoke (yugo) in toad form

Yoke (yugo) in toad form
Classic period
Mexico
Greenstone
h 13 x w 40 x d 43.2 cm
1986
UEA 446

It has been suggested that stone yugos or yokes, so-called because their shape resembles an ox yoke, may have been worn by players during a ballgame as protective belts. However, this is unlikely due to their heavy weight. They may have served as moulds for leather belts worn as protection during the game.

A game was often performed to obtain a good harvest and the imagery on these yugos may have been related to concepts of fertility. This example is carved with a frog or toad's head in the centre of the curve, with its body and legs shown on the sides. Frogs and toads are closely associated with concepts of fertility because of the numerous eggs they lay. 

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