Maximon devotional figure
Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala
Wood, cloth, paper
13" (33 cm) high, 6" (15.2 cm) wide, 6" (15.2 cm) deep
Early 20th century
From a private San Francisco collection
Maximon is one of the more mysterious and enigmatic religious icons of the western highlands of Guatemala, and his identity is associated with San Simon, Judas Escariot, Mam, Pedro de Alvarado and others. He is plyed with liquor and cigars, fancy silk scarves, money and incense to cure disease, remove curses, divine the future, cure infertility, bless crops, win lawsuits and perform other miracles. He is considered a guardian of moral behavior, but is also associated with vices and sexual disorder.
The sensitive face of this particular figure is a mask that the former owner attached to the head with copper wire. He wears a crucifix and a western suit with a hat made of cardboard.