Great Jumping Tlaloc

My friend and mentor, the very talented artist, Clive Hicks-Jenkins (link to his site) inspired me to work with maquettes  some time ago. He thought  that the flexible little paper mannequins would aid my compositions.

They have, but they have also become a joy unto themselves.

I make them because they bring me pleasure. I recently found myself inspired to craft an uber-maquette of the great rain god Tlaloc. I figured since he was such a flexible fellow he would make a fine mechanical doll, a Jumping Jack or if you want to be fancy, a pantin.  My Nana would bring me German-made pantins as a boy; this mega Jumping Tlaloc brings me the same joy although he is considerably larger than my childhood playthings, he measures at 41″.


acrylic on cardboard, brass fasteners, string

41 inches high

There is a certain degree of elaborate stringing to make the fellow “jump”, but once strung he is quite lively. Below you will find the great god in his  relaxed state.


As I experiment with depictions of the rain god, I have been dressing him in a fearsome mask. But under this fearsome exterior one finds a gentle god. Seems reasonable given he brings forth rain and life. I was inspired by this colonial image of Tlaloc.

1458431_572409069511998_211111241_n copyAnd his mask is based upon traditional depictions typically found on vessels.

1460037_572408966178675_1751846934_n copy

I need to paint the brads still and make a few adjustments with paint and string, but he so delighted me, I was eager to post the fellow.

After I figured out the logistics of pantin-making I stumbled upon this handy-dandy template. Pretty much the same as my own but thought I would share I ( I do not know the pattern’s maker, please let me know if you do).

pantin homme face

Well until next time, take care,