Monkey effigy ocarina

Maya
Late Classic pPriod
A.D. 650–850


Object Place: Guatemala, Southern highlands or adjacent Petexbatún region

Dimensions

12.6 x 10.6 cm (4 15/16 x 4 3/16 in.)

Accession Number

1988.1219

Medium or Technique

Earthenware

Not On View

Collections

Americas, Musical Instruments

Classifications

Aerophones

Mold-made, double-torso and double-headed monkey effigy ocarina, the monkeys’ torsos merging into a single lower body. The human-like legs, male genitalia and humanoid eyes visible inside the monkeys’ orbits suggest a human-monkey composite or a human impersonator (wearing a mask) of a double-headed monkey. Each monkey raises one arm to the top of its head, and two ears of maize around its neck. The ocarina’s mouthpiece is at the base of the figure, and two finger holes allow for pitch changes.

Provenance

Between about 1974 and 1981, probably purchased in Guatemala by John B. Fulling (b. 1924 – d. 2005), The Art Collectors of November, Inc., Pompano Beach, FL; May 20, 1987, sold by John B. Fulling to Landon T. Clay, Boston; 1988, year-end gift of Landon Clay to the MFA. (Accession Date: January 25, 1989)

NOTE: This is one in a group of Maya artifacts (MFA accession nos. 1988.1169 – 1988.1299) known as the “November Collection” after John Fulling’s company, the Art Collectors of November, Inc. John Fulling sold this group of objects to MFA donor Landon Clay in 1987, and they were given to the Museum the following year.
Evidence suggests that John Fulling built the November Collection from sources in Guatemala between 1974 and 1981. Only a portion of what he acquired during this time came to the MFA in 1988. It is not possible to determine precisely which objects were acquired when or from whom.

Credit Line

Gift of Landon T. Clay