A Sinú Gold Jaguar Pendant, Colombia, ca. 500 - 1000 CE
Object No: PJ2106
As in most ancient cultures throughout the Americas, animals played an important mythological role in the Sinú culture. Cats, and cat imagery, are significant from very early times, and the cat that had the greatest impact in New World myth and art is the jaguar, the most impressive of the large American felines. The average size of a full-grown male jaguar is about eight feet, nose to tail. Jaguars have flat, broad faces, powerful chests, and squat legs. Formidable hunters, they are said to swish their tails in a particularly hypnotic manner while hunting. It was believed a shaman could turn into a jaguar at will under the influence of hallucinatory drugs, and in this disguise, he would have great power for good or for evil. Even in death some shamans were believed to have turned permanently into jaguars as they transcended into the spirit world.
Cf: Warwick Bray, Gold of El Dorado, New York: American Museum of Natural History/Harry N. Abrams, Inc, 1979 and Mitchell, Jan, and Julie Jones. The Art of Precolumbian Gold: The Jan Mitchell Collection. , 1985, p.98-99.
Condition: Intact and in very condition overall, suitable for wearing with included 20" modern chain of 14K gold.
Dimensions: Length: 1 3/4 inches (4.44 cm) set as a pendant on a sturdy 24" chain of 14K gold (chain weight: 7.74g).
Provenance: Private NYC collection, acquired 1950s - 1980s, collection number FM 687 written in black pigment on the underside of the body.
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