Panther Effigy Pipe
Arts of the Americas
On View: American Art Galleries, 5th Floor, From Colonies to States, 1660–1830
Animal imagery is prevalent in Indigenous communities throughout eastern North America. This pipe is fully carved in the form of a panther, including the underside of the legs and paws, demonstrating the carver’s expertise. The crouching feline may represent the Underwater Panther, a mythical beast with great power that was thought to live in the underworld. The significance of such a pipe may have been to link the smoker to the supernatural realm.
100 BCE - 500 C.E.
2 3/8 x 6 5/16 x 1 9/16 in. (6 x 16 x 4 cm) (show scale)
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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)
overall, L49.5_PS11.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2020
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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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