Monkey Vessel

Maya culture

Guatemala

Monkey Vessel, 1800 BCE – 250 CE

  • On View

Earthenware

Dimensions: 5 1/4 × 5 3/4 × 12 in. (13.3 × 14.6 × 30.5 cm)

Gift of Robert Drapkin, 2006.106

In Classic Maya art, monkeys pose like people. Here, their arms leisurely rest behind their heads as they lay on their back. According to Maya creation stories, monkeys were descendants of a race of wooden people produced by the creator gods. Therefore, these creatures are understood as mankind’s ancestors and are often represented with human characteristics.

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