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Warrior Figure

Arts of the Americas

On View: American Art Galleries, 5th Floor, The Americas’ First Peoples, 4000 B.C.E.–1521 C.E.
This sculpture probably represents the god of hunting and warfare, Mixcoatl-Camaxtle (Cloud Serpent), from the pantheon of Huastec and Mexica (Aztec) deities who created and maintained the world. His beaded necklace with human hearts and belt of skulls reinforce the association with war and death. The nose rod indicates his warrior status, and he holds a hunting bag in his left hand.

Mixcoatl—who is identified by the conical headdress with two eagle feathers suspended from an eagle-down ball at the back of his head—also brought fire to humankind.
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
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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
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
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.
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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)