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Reclining Jaguar

Arts of the Americas

On View: Luce Visible Storage and Study Center, 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.
MEDIUM Volcanic stone
  • Place Found: Mexico
  • DATES 1400–1521
    DIMENSIONS 5 x 11 x 5 3/4 in. (12.7 x 27.9 x 14.6 cm)  (show scale)
    COLLECTIONS Arts of the Americas
    CREDIT LINE Carll H. de Silver Fund
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION 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.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in Luce Visible Storage and Study Center, 5th Floor
    CAPTION 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)
    IMAGE overall, 38.45_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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