Panel with feline figures

CULTURE:
Wari (Huari) provincial
DATE:
650–750 CE
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General Description

Large felines like jaguars, ocelots, and pumas are common in the art of the ancient Americas and in contemporary Latin American mythology. Solitary and nocturnal, the feline is both a powerful predator and a common alter ego, or spirit double, for shamans and priests. For the warlike Moche people, the jaguar was a symbol of perfection, often depicted with a human figure that probably represented a victim of conquest. The colorful cats on this textile wear hats and hold staffs. Despite their apparent lack of ferocity, the cats wear human trophy heads around their necks, a reference to the belief that the head is the seat of human power.

Adapted from

Label text, A. H. Meadows Galleries.