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Warrior Figure

Arts of the Americas

Symbols of death adorn this sculpture of a Huastec warrior. His earplugs, nose rod, and pointed cap signify his status. He wears evidence of his reputation; human skulls adorn his skirt. He once carried a spear to complement the hunting pouch in his left hand. In contrast, sculptures memorializing Konso warriors (like that at center) and demonstrating their might were grouped with additional sculptures of weapons, slain animals, and defeated foes. Combined with his fearsome bead-and-human-heart necklace, Huastec viewers would have realized this figure probably represented Micoatl-Camaxtle, god of hunting and warfare.
MEDIUM Sandstone
DATES ca. 1440–1521
DIMENSIONS 65 3/16 x 14 3/4 x 7 1/2 in. (165.6 x 37.5 x 19.1 cm)  (show scale)
COLLECTIONS Arts of the Americas
CREDIT LINE Frank L. Babbott Fund
CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Carved stone figure of a man standing on a pedestal. Distinct conical headdress below which are bangs of braided rectangular tufts. Between waist and knees is a carved skirt. At top and bottom of skirt is a row of human skulls. On back of figure are carved streamers. Right arm, close to body, bends at elbow with hand at shoulder and may have held a spear. Left arm, also close to body, hangs down with hand holding a hunting bag. Front of skirt has section missing. Legs on figure were broken and repaired. The figure probably represents Mixcoatl-Camaxtle or "Cloud Serpent", the god of hunting and warfare. Attributes of Mixcoatl are: triangular diadem headdress and the two eagle feathers suspended from a ball or eagle down at the nape of the neck. Nose rod indicates warrior status. Earplugs representing stylized deer hoofs associate him with his companion animal, the deer. Necklace is made of beads and human hearts; belt is of skulls.
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CAPTION Huastec. Warrior Figure, ca. 1440–1521. Sandstone, 65 3/16 x 14 3/4 x 7 1/2 in. (165.6 x 37.5 x 19.1 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Frank L. Babbott Fund, 39.371. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 39.371_bw.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 39.371_bw.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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Huastec. <em>Warrior Figure</em>, ca. 1440–1521. Sandstone, 65 3/16 x 14 3/4 x 7 1/2 in. (165.6 x 37.5 x 19.1 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Frank L. Babbott Fund, 39.371. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 39.371_bw.jpg)