Human effigy ocarina

Classic period
A.D. 500–900

Object Place: Veracruz or Tabasco, México


11.2 x 5.8 cm (4 7/16 x 2 5/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


On View

Ancient South America Gallery (Gallery LG33)


Americas, Musical Instruments


Musical instruments, Aerophones

Human effigy ocarina depicting a standing, elderly male figure. His face is decorated with beauty scarification, tatoos or face painting, the predominant motif being a herringbone or plaited design. His mouth is extended forward with pursed lips as if he were calling or whistling. Each ear is pierced with two large holes. The ocarina’s bulbous mouthpiece is attached to the figure’s back, and a fingerhole at each side of the figure allows for the creation of multiple pitches.


Collected between 1974 and 1981 by John Fulling, Art Collectors of November, Inc., Florida (and known as the "November Collection"); to Landon T. Clay, Boston, Massachusetts, in 1987; to MFA, December 1988, gift of Landon T. Clay.

Credit Line

Gift of Landon T. Clay