New archaeological discovery of a 2,000-year-old jaguar adds to the history of Mexico
The recent discovery of a jaguar statue at an archaeological site in Chiapas represents a new example of Mexico’s cultural history. Carved out of stone, the jaguar is only engraved on one of its sides, his paws flexed as if he were lying down. Considering the stone’s other blank faces, it was seemingly left incomplete.
The stone jungle cat dates back 2,000 years, when there were no metal tools to make sculptures. The jaguar was uncovered in the 2,500-year-old pre-Mayan civic religious center, Izapa. This southern stretch of Mexico is merely a few kilometers from the Guatemalan border.
Stretching 1.38 meters long by 87 centimeters high and 52 centimeters wide, the jaguar weighs one ton. According to Emiliano Gallaga, Chiapas director of the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia (INAH), the sculpture adds to the heritage of Izapa, and reinforces how important jaguars were in the ritual thinking of the Mesoamerican cultures.