Jaguar (Primary Title)
Puma (Alternate Title)

Unknown (Artist)

AD 100–800
Gold, green stones (modern)
South America,Peru,Lambayeque Valley,Andean
Overall: 1 1/4 × 4 1/4 in. (3.175 × 10.795 cm)
Because jaguars could easily cross boundaries by walking on land, swimming in water, and climbing up trees, they were thought to be able to move between realms like a shaman-a priest that transcended the boundaries between life and death, the natural and supernatural. Only the most potent shamans could transform themselves into jaguars. The gold jaguars in this case may represent transformed shamans because of their male genitalia. Ferocious hunters of animals and humans alike, jaguars symbolized warriors and warfare for those who strove to achieve jaguar-like prowess. An attacking jaguar aims for its prey’s head and neck, an attribute that resonated with Moche warriors who beheaded their victims.
Moche V
Soldered, sweat-welded, depletion gilded
Early Intermediate
Arthur and Margaret Glasgow Fund
Image released via Creative Commons CC-BY-NC

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