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Figure of Maximon/San Simon seated on a chair and festooned with offerings. The painted wood body is dressed in a green fabric army uniform and red scarf and is bound to a wooden chair with straw seat with a multi-coloured belt that ties a metal sword around his waist. The head with metal hat (part b) is on a metal post that sticks into the neck and is removable. Other offerings include a metal necklace (c), two paper money bills (parts d, g), a colourful clay incense burner (e), and a glass bottle of liquid (part f).

History Of Use

Latin American folk art, and especially religious folk art is usually made to be used, rather than to become a static object. The more things the religious figure has attached to it, the more value it has, symbolically, and commercially. It means it is old, is very popular and has lots of power. Money, drinks, tobacco and food are the preferred offerings. San Simon (known also as Maximón to the Maya people) is revered by indigenous and non-indigenous people alike in Guatemala and in several other Latin American countries and many shrines are dedicated to him. San Simon also goes by the diminutive, San Simoncito. He likes to have offerings of tobacco, bottles of liquor and, especially, money.


The figure was purchased by the donor in an open market in Guatemala in the 1970s, but it was not a new piece--the figure was already old then. The woman who sold the figure told the donor the story about San Simon being a folk saint. At the time he had only his green outfit and hat. Over the years, the donor added oferrings to his collection: the bottles, the scarf, money and necklace. In 2013, a Guatemalan visitor to MOA left a Guatemalan bank note to add to his offerings (now part g).

Item History

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