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Seal with a Motif of Playing Traditional Football

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Period: Western Han dynasty (206 BCE – 8 CE)
Medium: Bronze
Dimensions: Seal surface: 1.6× 1.6 cm, thickness: 0.5 cm

The bronze seal has two sides: one side depicts two players standing face to face and using their feet to lift balls; the reverse is incised with two people seated back-to-back under a large umbrella. Cu means to kick or lift things, while ju indicated a leather ball filled with material. A traditional football, cuju, which was said to be created by the Chinese sage Huangdi, was first used to train soldiers and became a popular game later in the Han dynasty. This game is frequently mentioned in historical records. Besides cuju, the other main sports popular during the Han dynasty include fencing, hunting, and horse racing.

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