This vessel depicting a crouching feline is from the so-called “mother
civilization” of the Andes in South America. We’re talking here about
the pre-Columbian Chavín culture, which flourished from about
900 to 200 BC. The Chavín associated felines with their ruling houses,
and cats were often portrayed in their art. The wild cats known by the
Chavín are believed to have had spiritual significance as well, as shamans
were thought to transform into feline creatures.
Photo from the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore.
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