Artwork Explained: Jaguar Warrior

August 07, 2020 2 min read

Artwork Explained: Jaguar Warrior

This week we will be exploring and celebrating the meaning and the artwork behind the Aztec Inspired, Jaguar Warrior apparel range. This range celebrates and channels the importance of Jaguars and Jaguar symbolism in Aztec and other Mesoamerican cultures. This design is striking, vibrant and meaningful. 

The Aztecs left us with the most insight into the Ancient Mexican Traditions of the importance and the meaning of Jaguar Symbolism. In the Aztec language Nahuatl the Jaguar was called an Ocelotl which caused confusion with the Jaguar symbolism actually being Ocelot symbolism. The Aztecs considered the Jaguar the ruler of the animal kingdom and the most brave beast of beasts.The jaguar symbol was frequently used in Aztec representations of war. Aztec names which included the term ocelotl were used to describe brave warriors therefore ocelopetlatl and oceloyotl described especially brave warriors, such as those of the high-status Jaguar Warrior Society. In Aztec mythology and astrology, the jaguar also played an important role, as it was believed that those born under the calendrical sign ocelotl shared the jaguar’s aggressive nature and would become the bravest warriors of all. 


Jaguar warriors were referred to as ‘cuāuhocēlōtl’ and were one of the most elite types of warriors in the Aztec military. The warriors that earned this name were regarded as the best, for their ability to capture prisoners in battle, which was one of the main objectives of the Aztec military. These warriors wore very distinctive types of outfits that were separate from the rest of the Aztec warriors. The Jaguar warriors wore the hide or skin of a jaguar which usually covered their entire bodies. They had their faces showing out of the open jaguar mouth. Jaguar warriors wore this in belief that they gained the strength of the animal in battle. Jaguar warriors went into battle with a weapon called a macuahuitl, which was a type of wooden club that had very sharp obsidian blades attached to its edges. Obsidian is a volcanic glass that when cut can produce extremely sharp blades. These types of warriors also fought using spears, clubs and shields. Supposedly, a warrior had to capture at least four prisoners in battle to achieve the rank of a Jaguar warrior.

The front chest piece of the tops and on the blankets in this design is a symbolic depiction of a Jaguar warrior. You can see the warriors face showing between the jaws of the jaguar. This motif is surrounded by Aztec print and pattern work. On the bottoms and on the sleeves of this collection is a 3 part motif showing the Jaguar warrior motif surrounded by more Jaguar symbolism. 2 Jaguar warriors facing one another out of the jaws of the Jaguar. Then a depiction of a macuahuitl and shield wielding Jaguar Warrior clothed in the skin of a Jaguar and finally another depiction of a warrior. 

The artist really celebrated these warriors through the artwork in this design. He told a story through his depictions that keeps the memory and stories alive of these fierce warriors even in modern times. 

We hope you love this design just as much as we do! :) 

-Lunafide Team <3


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