Acrobatic Games of Mesoamerica

Author(s): Gerardo Gutierrez

Year: 2015


In this paper I examine the context and performance of acrobatic games in Mesoamerica using archaeological, ethnohistorical, and ethnographic representations of contorsionists, tightrope walkers, equilibrists, dancers on stilts, jugglers, and participants in rotational devices, like the Palo Volador and the Huahua. I underline the importance of acrobatic games in ritual festivities and secular events where improvisational and professional performers staged spectacles and played tricks designed to amuse large audiences. Acrobatic games are part of a larger complex of ludic Mesoamerican practices that included theater and illusionism. I argue here that acrobatic games were an essential form of socialization and community-building that provided necessary moments of relaxation during the agricultural and ritual calendar.

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Cite this Record

Acrobatic Games of Mesoamerica. Gerardo Gutierrez. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 394875)


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Spatial Coverage

min long: -107.271; min lat: 12.383 ; max long: -86.353; max lat: 23.08 ;