Seated Noble or Court Musician with Turtle Carapace and Deer Horn Rasp Nayarit, western Mexico

Unknown (Mexican, Unknown)

circa 300. Oil on canvas, 11 1/4 x 6 7/16". 11 1/4 x 6 7/16"

Figures of musicians were frequently placed in burial chambers, indicating they were popular in ancient Mexican cultures. This musician sits to play an instrument made of a turtle shell and a deer antler. His ear plugs and the scarification on his shoulders and face are typical adornment. Sculpture from the Nayarit area of western Mexico is characterized by rough, dark red surfaces, geometric designs, and elaborate ornament and body paint. Although the figure’s eyes and mouth are simple, incised lines and ridges—and his limbs are simple, fluid cylinders—his maker still succeeded in conveying a spirit of liveliness in him.

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