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Whistle in the Form of a Monkey

Arts of the Americas

On View: Lobby annex, 1st floor
The Maya blue pigment on these figurines is still vibrant after fifteen hundred years. The two male figures represent members of the Maya royal court, as indicated by their elaborate garments and ornaments. The warrior wears a shell necklace, towering helmet-headdress and ear-spools; the nobleman wears a wide collar with long flaps, and a detachable bird-shaped headdress with feathered plumes. The whistle in the form of a composite monkey-human figure, or a man wearing a monkey mask, may refer to the patron god of artists, given the ability of monkeys to imitate what they see, as artists do.
CULTURE Maya
MEDIUM Ceramic, pigment
  • Place Found: Mexico
  • DATES 600-900
    DIMENSIONS 5 x 2 x 1 1/2 in. (12.7 x 5.1 x 3.8 cm)  (show scale)
    COLLECTIONS Arts of the Americas
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in Lobby annex, 1st floor
    ACCESSION NUMBER 2009.2.21
    CREDIT LINE Gift in memory of Frederic Zeller
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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    CAPTION Maya. Whistle in the Form of a Monkey, 600-900. Ceramic, pigment, 5 x 2 x 1 1/2 in. (12.7 x 5.1 x 3.8 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift in memory of Frederic Zeller, 2009.2.21. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 2009.2.21_overall_PS11.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 2009.2.21_overall_PS11.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2022
    "CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Hollow whistle figurine (Jaina style) in the form of a standing anthropomorphic monkey or a man wearing a monkey mask. The figure holds something in his right hand (possibly a piece of cloth). There is blue pigment on the top of the head, breast, and armbands. Condition: good
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    Maya. <em>Whistle in the Form of a Monkey</em>, 600-900. Ceramic, pigment, 5 x 2 x 1 1/2 in. (12.7 x 5.1 x 3.8 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift in memory of Frederic Zeller, 2009.2.21. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 2009.2.21_overall_PS11.jpg)