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Jaguar warrior sculpture

Mexica jaguar warrior sculpture (Aztec)

Mexica (Aztec) jaguar warrior sculpture, basalt, height 78 cms. National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico City.

This sculpture shows the warrior wearing a jaguar helmet, his face emerging from the animal’s jaws, and framed by enormous circular ear-spools, probably made of gold. The warrior wears a paper knot worn by the nobility, a large necklace with four strings of greenstone beads and an old-fashioned pectoral, providing a link with former warriors. Around his wrists are bracelets made of beads and leather bangles adorned with small metal bells and the quincunx symbol. The warrior’s high status is indicated by his depiction as a great lord seated on a wooden throne decorated with greenstone symbols and cross-sections of spiral shells.

Adapted from ‘Moctezuma: Aztec Ruler’, British Museum Catalogue, 2009, p. 203.

Photo by Ian Mursell/Mexicolore