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Panther Effigy Pipe

Arts of the Americas

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.
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
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.
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
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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