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Musical Resonator in the Form of an Armadillo

Las Bocas
Early Formative period, c.2500–900 BC
c.1200–900 BC
Made in
Puebla state, México, North and Central America, Las Bocas
Current Location
Not on view
4 3/4 x 13 7/8 x 5 3/8 in. (12.1 x 35.2 x 13.7 cm)
Credit Line
Gift of Morton D. May
Public Domain
Object Number
1950s-60s - 1969
George Pepper (d. 1969), Mexico City, Mexico [1]

1969 - 1970
Jeanette Pepper, Los Angeles, CA, USA, by inheritance [2]

1970 - 1980
Morton D. May (1914-1983), St. Louis, MO, purchased from Jeanette Pepper, through agent Everett Rassiga [3]

1980 -
Saint Louis Art Museum, given by Morton D. May [4]

[1] An invoice dated February 10, 1970 from Everett Rassiga Inc. to Morton D. May records May's purchase of the Pepper Collection from Jeanette Pepper, widow of George Pepper. Listed as "12. Chrysalis, blackware, Olmec, Las Bocas, much broken and repaired, excellent carving for Chrysalis, handle to imitate caterpiller [sic] feet, round solid head, vessel form (hollow), L. ca. l6" on an inventory list titled "Pepper Collection, P. 2 of unnumbered and undesignated objects from Box II" [invoice and notebook in May Archives, Saint Louis Art Museum]. Although it is not known exactly when George Pepper acquired this object, he began actively collecting Ancient American art while living in Mexico City, his residence from 1951 until his death in 1969 ["Pre-Classic Ceramic Traditions in Central Mexico." Saint Louis Art Museum, 1985, p. 1; "Cold War Exiles in Mexico." Rebecca M. Schrieber, University of Minnesota Press, 2008, p. 9, 105; "A Gathering of Fugitives." Diana Anhalt, Archer Books, 2001, p. 202, 228].

[2] Correspondence between the Saint Louis Art Museum and Margot Pepper confirms that Jeanette Pepper inherited her husband's collection upon his death [email correspondence dated July 1, 2009, SLAM document files].

[3] See notes [1] and [2]. A letter dated February 11, 1970 from Everett Rassiga to Morton D. May indicates Rassiga acted as May's agent in the purchase of the Pepper Collection. Listed in the Pepper Notebooks as "Chrysalis, blackware, Olmec" [letter and notebook in May Archives, Saint Louis Art Museum].

[4] A letter dated April 3, 1980 from Morton D. May to John Peters MacCarthy, president of the Board of Commissioners, includes the offer of this object as part of a larger donation [SLAM document files]. Minutes of the Acquisitions and Loans Committee of the Board of Trustees, Saint Louis Art Museum, June 6, 1980.
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