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Although usually called a jaguar, this feline is probably a mountain lion: notice the lack of spots on its skin and the ears that are more rounded than jaguar ears. The very large format of this sculpture requires considerable pottery prowess and the state of preservation of the original color scheme is remarkable. The fact that it is wearing a scarf likely links it to ritual use, embedded in an unknown mythology.

Large feline sculpture
Middle Classic (400-600 A.D.)
Monte Albán, State of Oaxaca
Clay with orange, yellow, red, green, black and white pigments
111 x 48 cm.
National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico.

Photo © Jorge Pérez de Lara