Ceramic; H. 9 in. (22.9 cm)
Purchase, Arthur M. Bullowa Bequest, 1998 (1998.385)
The ancient peoples of the state of Veracruz, an area of Mexico on the Gulf Coast, were skilled artists in the clay medium from the second millennium B.C. onward. They created a wide range of imaginative containers and figurative sculptures. The Huasteca region in northern Veracruz, where this vessel is thought to have originated, had a long, sophisticated ceramic tradition, yet it is poorly known archaeologically. The monkey head that adorns the top of the globular chamber has a sharp central crest and round ornaments in each ear. Encircling the pouting mouth and closed eyes is a carefully delineated, raised hairline marked by stippling. Most unusual is the long tassel hanging from the tip of the nose. The meaning of this feature is not known.