Statuette Of Mountain Lion Or Panther Man God "Key Marco Cat"
From card: "Illus.: Brose, David S. 1985. Ancient Art of the American Woodland Indians; Pl. 75, p. 107. Identified there as kneeling feline figure; wood, h. 15.1 cm, Calusa culture, Late Mississippian period, A.D. 1400-1500. Lent to Detroit Institute of Arts, 1-29-85, returned 3-17-86. Lent to National Gallery of Art, 8-28-91, loan returned 2/4/92." Illus. Pl. 38, p. 112 in Russell, Karen Kramer. 2012. Shapeshifting: transformations in Native American art. New Haven, Conn: Yale University Press. Identified there on p. 113 as a human-feline effigy, 700-1500 AD, carved by a Southeastern artist. "... [It] was carved using shell scrapers and a shark's tooth (apparent from the smooth sweeping lines and clean edges), and rubbed with a protective layer of animal fat. Panthers, indigenous to what is now Florida, would likely have inspired Native artists to create their likeness. Additionally, Native people of Southeastern North America, among others, have in their oral histories the concept of a world order kept in balance by Underwater Panthers who rule the watery Lower World and Thunderbirds who rule the Upper World. ... Archaeologists consider this figure to be stylistically distinct from all other regions. ... It is unknown who the inhabitants of Key Marco were in 700. Some scholars suggest this effigy may have been carved by someone associated with the Southeastern Ceremonial Complex. By historic contact times, however, this region was part of the greater Calusa domain and, as such, the carving was possibly made by a Calusa artist."
Cat is carved from a dense native tropic hardwood, species unidentified.