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Undoubtedly one of the masterpieces of Mexica artistry, this delicately carved and polished sculpture raises the question of whether this is the effigy of a monkey emerging from a vessel or whether the monkey is in the process of transforming itself into a vessel. Given known associations between the wind deity and monkeys, this piece may have once been used for the cult of Ehécatl.

Obsidian vessel carved in the shape of a monkey
Mexica (Aztec)
Late Post-Classic (1325-1521 A.D.)
Texcoco, State of Mexico
15 x 15 cm.
National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico.

Photo © Jorge Pérez de Lara