Toggle

20 North Main St (also enter on 224 Benefit Street) Providence, RI 02903

Open today
10am–5pm

RISD
MUSEUM

Art & Design

Aztec (ancient culture), Spider monkey, 1200-1521, Mary B. Jackson Fund

Aztec (ancient culture)

Spider monkey

Unknown artist, Aztec (ancient culture)
Spider monkey, 1200-1521
Volcanic stone
35.6 x 26.7 x 24.8 cm (14 x 10 1/2 x 9 3/4 inches)
Mary B. Jackson Fund 43.545

An exceptional work of art in a difficult medium, this spider monkey is realistically portrayed at life size with its tail non-chalantly wound around its right arm. Its earrings —-shell ornaments representing pleasure —-mark it as the animal counterpart of the deity Xochipilli-Macuilxochit and as one of the twenty day signs in each of the thirteen months constituting the Mesoamerican divinatory calendar. Both deity and animal counterpart were associated with pleasurable activities such as music, dance, festivals, and sex. Male children born under this sign were thought to be happy, gregarious, well-disposed, and artistic.


Other Ethnology

Previous Next