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By Lynn V. Foster

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700–850). Height: 4 1⁄16 inches; diamnied by considerable betting. A eter: 61⁄4 inches (Dallas Museum of Art, team could lose by allowing the gift of Patsy R. and Raymond D. Nasher) ball to hit the ground or go out of bounds. Scoring in one version of hipball required the ball to pass through narrow stone rings; this was so rarely achieved that when it happened spectators showered the scoring ballplayer with their jewelry. Fascinated by the game, the conquistador Hernán Cortés took two teams back to Spain on his first trip to report to Emperor Charles V, thereby introducing ball games to the Old World.

Great tombs were built for their rulers and the nobility, and there is evidence of ancestor worship, just as there is in the Maya region. But Monte Albán’s most important contact during the Classic period was with Teotihuacán. Whether that contact was always peaceful is unclear, given the defensive position of Monte Albán. Yet there was an enclave of Oaxaqueños at Teotihuacán, and archaeologists have found remnants of a Teotihuacano-style palace at Monte Albán from the Early Classic period. The two cities certainly traded, but whether this trade was in the form of tribute or exchange remains uncertain.

The art of Mesoamericans of highland central Mexico tends toward geometric and abstracted figures, hard-cut and 23 A BRIEF HISTORY OF MEXICO deeply shadowed sculpture (see pages 18 and 40). The art is powerful and awesomely expressive, if often impersonal. By contrast, the lowland areas of the Gulf coast and the Maya region concentrate far more on portraiture (see pages 16, 27, and 35) and Maya art often has the soft, curved forms and lush foliate designs of the tropical environment that surrounded those people.

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