Skip Navigation

Panther Effigy Pipe

Arts of the Americas

On View: Arts of the Americas Galleries, 5th Floor
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 1 - 400 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
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in Arts of the Americas Galleries, 5th Floor
CREDIT LINE Anonymous loan
You may download and use Brooklyn Museum images of this three-dimensional work in accordance with a Creative Commons license. Fair use, as understood under the United States Copyright Act, may also apply.

Please include caption information from this page and credit the Brooklyn Museum. If you need a high resolution file, please contact (charges apply).

For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress, Cornell University, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums, and Copyright Watch.

For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright.

If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact
CAPTION Panther Effigy Pipe, 1 - 400 C.E. Black Steatite, 2 3/8 x 6 5/16 x 1 9/16 in. (6 x 16 x 4 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Anonymous loan, L49.5. Creative Commons-BY
IMAGE overall, L49.5_SL1.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 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.
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome any additional information you might have.