Mesoamerican Art Essay

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Mesoamerican Art and Architecture ARTH 219-001 Extra Credit Assignment April 23rd, 2012 The Jaguar is a very unique animal with a prominent association and appearance in the cultures and belief systems of Mesonamerican societies. The jaguar and its name are widely used as a symbol in contemporary culture. The jaguar is known to be the biggest cat in America, and one of the most efficient and aggressive predators. Quick, agile, and powerful enough to take down the jungles largest prey, it proves its dominance to all. All major Mesoamerican civilizations feature a jaguar god, and for many, the jaguar was a very important part of shamanism. The habitat of this cat includes the rain forests of both South and Central America. The jaguar prefers dense forest. The jaguar is associated with water and it oftten prefers to live by rivers or dense rainforest with thick cover for prey. The cat will range across tropical, subtropical, and dry deciduous forests. In Mexico, the jaguar prefers the arid grassland. All in all, the habitat for a jaguar is easy going. All they need is dense forest, water, and a cornucopia of prey. The Olmecs civilization was first defined as a distinctive art style at the turn of the nineteenth century. The Olmec design of the jaguar, which was the most distinctive piece, was called the “were-jaguar”. The, were-jaguar is characterized by a distinctive down-turned mouth with fleshy lips, almond-shaped eyes, and a cleft head. It is also said that the male jaguar, which has a cleft running vertically the length of its head. The were-jaguar is shown on a platform. It has great meaning to it, because the Omlecs believed that it was a copulation between a jaguar and a women. The form is a yellow stone, with almost life size feeling. The two hands both go towards the chest. The Mayan civilization viewed the jaguar much differently then

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