Arts of the Americas
On View: Arts of the Americas Galleries, 5th Floor
The Aztec Empire, centered in the Valley of Mexico, existed from 1325 until the Spanish conquest of 1521. This reclining jaguar is an excellent example of Aztec naturalistic sculpture. Every part of the animal is carefully rendered, including the underside, where the paw pads are carved in low relief. To the Aztec, the jaguar symbolized power, courage, and a warlike attitude. Some of the highest-ranking warriors were called jaguar warriors, and rulers associated themselves with Tezcatlipoca, a deity who sometimes assumed the guise of this powerful predator.
5 x 11 x 5 3/4 in. (12.7 x 27.9 x 14.6 cm) (show scale)
Carll H. de Silver Fund
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Aztec. Reclining Jaguar, 1400-1521. Volcanic stone, 5 x 11 x 5 3/4 in. (12.7 x 27.9 x 14.6 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Carll H. de Silver Fund, 38.45. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 38.45_SL1.jpg)
overall, 38.45_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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Reclining grey stone jaguar. Tail curved above one hind leg that rests on the other. All parts of the animal are carefully carved with the eyes and mouth open and the jaguar's two straight paws extending in front of body.
Condition: good: the side of the tail is partly broken and the stone is chipped in a few places.
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