Arts of the Americas
On View: Arts of the Americas Galleries, 5th Floor
This stele is topped with three kneeling human figures wearing jaguar masks with pronounced incisors, and the back is decorated with eighteen crouching jaguars carved in high relief. The exact function of such monumental stone slabs is unknown because so few have been found or excavated in the region. One example was discovered upright in a cemetery, suggesting that it was a grave marker for an important individual. In this case, the jaguar may have been the deceased’s totem animal or clan symbol.
78 9/16 x 23 1/4 x 11 in. (199.5 x 59 x 27.9 cm)
Alfred W. Jenkins Fund
Large stone stele decorated with three human figures wearing jaguar masks. The figures are carved in the round and joined by the arms of the central figure. The back of the piece is decorated with eighteen crouching jaguars in high relief that are carved along the sides of the stele.
Central Caribbean. Stele, 700-1000. Volcanic stone, 78 9/16 x 23 1/4 x 11 in. (199.5 x 59 x 27.9 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Alfred W. Jenkins Fund, 34.5098. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 34.5098_front_PS4.jpg)
front, 34.5098_front_PS4.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2013
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