Gallina loca – crazy chicken

Gallina Loca, bird shaped vessel, Museum of Anthropology, Mexico

I fell in love with this artifact when I saw it in the National Museum of Anthropology of Mexico in Mexico City in 2000. One of my best friends and I were in Mexico City and were wandering around the museum’s immensitude for a couple of hours when I turned a corner and suddenly saw this piece. I was wearing the instructional audio headphones and a female voice with accented English was saying “La Gallina Loca: CRAZY Chicken, or FANtastic hen. A figure representing the underworld, it is ceramic with shell encrustations.” I called my jet-lagged friend over to look at it and he instantly brightened up and laughed and said “That’s the only gay thing in here!!!”

“Popularly known as “la Gallina Loca” (the Crazy Hen), this unique piece probably depicts a raptorial bird with Underworld associations, given the fact that the marine elements it incorporates are often related to this realm. Bird Shaped Vessel. Teotihuacan, 300 – 550 AD, Clay, marine shells and greenstone.

So old and in perfect shape.

When I got back to Vancouver I realized I’d more or less made this hen myself when I was ten. Remember it distinctly; after school, home alone, mixing papier-mâché (we had just learned it at school) and putting it over some old chicken wire, glue, fabric, two sequins, two pins. Not quite as good, and not sacred at all, but still funny.

Gallina loca, crazy chicken

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