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Panther Effigy Pipe

Arts of the Americas

On View: American Art Galleries, 5th Floor, From Colonies to States, 1660–1830
Animal imagery was often used during the early period of indigenous occupation in eastern North America. This panther pipe is fully carved, including the underside of the legs and paws, demonstrating the carver’s expertise. The crouching feline may represent the Underwater Panther, a mystical beast with great power that was thought to live in the underworld realm. The significance of this panther-shaped pipe may be to link the smoker to the underworld and sky realms.

La imaginería animal se usaba frecuentemente durante el periodo temprano de ocupación indígena al este de Norteamérica. Esta pipa de pantera esta tallada completamente, incluyendo debajo de las piernas y garras, manifestando la experiencia del tallador. El felino agazapado puede representar a la Pantera Bajo el Agua, una bestia mítica muy poderosa que se creía que vivía en el inframundo. La importancia de esta pipa en forma de pantera puede estar relacionada con la conexión del fumador al inframundo y al mundo celestial.

MEDIUM Black Steatite
DATES 100 BCE - 500 C.E.
PERIOD Woodland Period
DIMENSIONS 2 3/8 x 6 5/16 x 1 9/16 in. (6 x 16 x 4 cm)  (show scale)
COLLECTIONS Arts of the Americas
CREDIT LINE Anonymous loan
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CAPTION Eastern Woodlands. Panther Effigy Pipe, 100 BCE - 500 C.E. Black Steatite, 2 3/8 x 6 5/16 x 1 9/16 in. (6 x 16 x 4 cm). Anonymous loan, L49.5. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, L49.5_PS11.jpg)
IMAGE overall, L49.5_PS11.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2020
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CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Carved stone pipe in the form of a crouching feline, probably a panther to judge from the markings along the sides of its body. Panthers were prevalent throughout the North American eastern woodlands prior to the spread of European settlements. The bowl of the pipe is in the center of the animal's back. The artist has captured in remarkable detail its fierce and sensuous qualities: the curved tail, the snarling mouth, and the dewclaws and pads of the feet on the underside. Condition: Excellent, one leg has been broken and repaired.
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