Skip Navigation

Ceremonial Hacha in the Form of a Monkey's Head

Arts of the Americas

U-shaped objects termed “yokes” by archaeologists are representations in stone of belts worn around a ball player’s hips. This example is decorated with symbolic images alluding to death, such as the human skeleton. The frog’s head at the front references the watery realm of the underworld. The hacha (literally, “axe,” for its resemblance to an axe head) was worn on the front of the belt. The monkey head may symbolize one of the half brothers of the Hero Twins of the Popol Vuh.

Objetos en forma de “U”, llamados “yugos” por los arqueólogos, son representaciones en piedra de los cinturones llevados en las caderas por los jugadores de pelota. Este ejemplo está decorado con imágenes simbólicas alusivas a la muerte, como el esqueleto humano. La cabeza de rana en la parte frontal hace referencia al reino acuático del inframundo. El hacha (llamada así por su semejanza a la cabeza de un hacha) se usaba al frente del cinturón. La cabeza de mono puede simbolizar a uno de los medios hermanos de los Héroes Gemelos del Popol Vuh.
  • Place Found: Veracruz, Mexico
  • DATES 700–900
    PERIOD Post Classic
    DIMENSIONS 7 1/4 x 6 1/2 x 4 in. (18.4 x 16.5 x 10.2 cm)  (show scale)
    COLLECTIONS Arts of the Americas
    CREDIT LINE By exchange
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Ceremonial hacha in the form of a monkey's head with tongue hanging down and a scroll-like adornment on the head. Perforations at corners of mouth. Condition: good; chips at top back, two suspension holes broken, and small chip on top of forehead.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Classic Veracruz. Ceremonial Hacha in the Form of a Monkey's Head, 700–900. Stone, 7 1/4 x 6 1/2 x 4 in. (18.4 x 16.5 x 10.2 cm). Brooklyn Museum, By exchange, 59.237.2. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 59.237.2.jpg)
    IMAGE front, 59.237.2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
    "CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
    You may download and use Brooklyn Museum images of this three-dimensional work in accordance with a Creative Commons license. Fair use, as understood under the United States Copyright Act, may also apply. Please include caption information from this page and credit the Brooklyn Museum. If you need a high resolution file, please fill out our online application form (charges apply). For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress, Cornell University, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums, and Copyright Watch. For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright. If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact
    Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome any additional information you might have.