Art of the Americas - Maximon Figure, Guatemala

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Maximon devotional figure
Western Highlands, Guatemala
Wood, cloth, leather, cigar
13" (33 cm) high, 7" (17.2 cm) wide, 6" (15.2 cm) deep
Mid-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.

Sporting leather shoes and a wooden hat, this Maximon has a painted, carved vest under his bespoke blue suit. There is room in his mouth for a small cigar, though he carries a fat one in his pocket along with an amulet.


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