This is a sculptural, vintage ocarina in the shape of an armadillo. It was hand made of local terracotta clay and stamped "Mexico" on one side. There are raised ridges along the spine, a stubby tail and four stubby legs and carved eyes that have been painted yellow. The ocarina has four round holes, two on each side, a small round one on the tail and a carved opening on the bottom. Blow in the tail while covering one or more of the four holes and you'll make music--it works!
The ocarina is an ancient instrument; archaeologists have uncovered ceramic ocarinas from both homes and burial sites in Mexico and Central America, where they played an important role in rituals and ceremonies. In South and Central America, the Mayans, Aztecs, and Incas all developed and performed on clay ocarinas which were often shaped like animals or birds.
This musical instrument measures 7 1/2 inches long, 3 1/2 inches to the top of the back, 3 inches wide across the belly and weighs about 3/4 pound. It's in lovely condition, with no cracks or chips. Like all true folk art, it is at home in both primitive and modern settings.
Note: The Mexican watercolor by Max Vidal shown in our photo is available here: