Revered for its stealth, strength and savagery, the jaguar is the largest land animal in Central America and, thus, is often depicted in art. In this example, many of the large predator’s features are abstracted and the most dangerous parts of the creature enhanced to reinforce its powerful status among animals: its ferocious teeth and sharp claws.
The front paws, resting on the back legs on this impressive vessel, mimic the meditation pose of the shaman, with hands resting on knees. This pear-shaped vessel shows not just a jaguar but a transformed shaman in his/her animal form. Clay pellets contained within the hollow legs and mouth transform this vessel into a rattle when shaken.