Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Spotted Feline

1st century B.C.–A.D. 4th century
Colombia or Ecuador
H. 2 x W. 1 1/2 in. (5.1 x 3.8 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Margaret B. Zorach, 1980
Accession Number:
Not on view
The best-known Tolita/Tumaco objects from the Ecuador/Colombia border region are ceramics, including vessels of diverse types and sizes and freestanding figures; many were made using molds. Works in other media such as precious metals, bone, stone, and shell were also made. This small anthropomorphized feline is carved of bone. The animal is standing upright in a human position, with front legs further raised like human arms. A huge head, as tall as the rest of the figure, has bared fangs, flared nostrils, and wide eyes that exude aggression and strength. Two different patterns elaborate the body. On the right are the dots of a spotted feline, while on the left is an unusual banded design. The meaning of this difference is unclear. Utilitarian objects such as needles, awls, spatulas, and fishhooks were also made of bone.
Margaret B. Zorach, Brooklyn, NY, until 1980

Related Objects

Seated Figure

Date: 1st century B.C.–A.D. 1st century Medium: Ceramic Accession: 1982.231 On view in:Gallery 357

Lime Container (Poporo)

Date: 1st–7th century Medium: Gold Accession: 1991.419.22 On view in:Gallery 357

Standing Figure

Date: 100 B.C.–A.D. 100 Medium: Gold Accession: 1995.427 On view in:Not on view

Serpent (tunjo)

Date: 10th–16th century Medium: Gold Accession: 1992.92.2 On view in:Gallery 357

Serpent (tunjo)

Date: 10th–16th century Medium: Gold Accession: 1992.92.1 On view in:Gallery 357