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Jadeite figurine of an eagle warrior

Jadeite figurine of an Aztec eagle warrior, British Museum

Figurine of an Aztec eagle warrior, jadeite, Mexica (Aztec), 1300-1521 CE, height 14.5 cms., British Museum. Ref. Am1856,0422.93.

The face emerges from the gaping beak of an eagle helmet. In Aztec mythology, the eagle represented the power of the day and was believed to carry the sun into the sky from the underworld each morning. Eagle and Jaguar warriors, the two most prestigious military orders, were schooled in the art of war in special precincts in the heart of the Aztec capital Tenochtitlan. They earned status by performing feats of bravery and daring, notably securing captives for sacrifice. Warriors were awarded insignia such as cloaks, helmets and shields according to rank.

From British Museum Collection Online website.
Photo courtesy and © Trustees of the British Museum.