Icons of Power: Feline Symbolism in the Americas

Icons of Power: Feline Symbolism in the Americas

by Nicholas J. Saunders
     
 

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Icons of Power investigates why the image of the cat has been such a potent symbol in the art, religion and mythology of indigenous American cultures for three thousand years.
The jaguar and the puma epitomize ideas of sacrifice, cannibalism, war, and status in a startling array of graphic and enduring images. Natural and supernatural felines inhabit aSee more details below

Overview

Icons of Power investigates why the image of the cat has been such a potent symbol in the art, religion and mythology of indigenous American cultures for three thousand years.
The jaguar and the puma epitomize ideas of sacrifice, cannibalism, war, and status in a startling array of graphic and enduring images. Natural and supernatural felines inhabit a shape-shifting world of sorcery and spiritual power, revealing the shamanic nature of Amerindian world views. This pioneering collection offers a unique pan-American assessment of the feline icon through the diversity of cultural interpretations, but also striking parallels in its associations with hunters, warriors, kingship, fertility, and the sacred nature of political power. Evidence is drawn from the pre-Columbian Aztec and Maya of Mexico, Peruvian, and Panamanian civilizations, through recent pueblo and Iroquois cultures of North America, to current Amazonian and Andean societies.
This well-illustrated volume is essential reading for all who are interested in the symbolic construction of animal icons, their variable meanings, and their place in a natural world conceived through the lens of culture. The cross-disciplinary approach embraces archaeology, anthropology, and art history.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Draws evidence from the Precolumbian Aztec, Maya, Tembladera, Panamanian, and Columbian cultures as well as from the more recent Iroquois, Pueblo, Amazonian, and Araucanian societies to show how the jaguar and puma have been and are used as symbols of sacrifice, cannibalism, and war in the art, religion, and mythology of a wide range of American peoples. Also throws light on the differing perceptions of nature across the Western Hemisphere and the impact of the European contact. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781136605130
Publisher:
Taylor & Francis
Publication date:
04/15/2013
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
312
File size:
47 MB
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Meet the Author

Nicholas J. Saunders has held research fellowship and teaching positions in Mexico, the USA, Trinidad, Jamaica and the United Kingdom. He is currently a Visiting Fellow in the archaeology department at Southampton University.

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