Collect your choice of gallery quality Giclée, or fine art prints custom trimmed by hand in a variety of sizes with a white border for framing.
Due to the aspirations of conquest and the religious beliefs of the Mexicas, war was a very important activity. The Mexicas believed that the gods had sacrificed themselves for mankind, that their blood had given man life, and that the Sun was nourished with the blood of human hearts. In Mesoamerica, the Olmec—an early and influential culture of the Gulf Coast region roughly contemporaneous with the Chavín—developed a distinct "were-jaguar" motif of sculptures and figurines showing stylised jaguars or humans with jaguar characteristics. In the later Maya civilization, the jaguar was believed to facilitate communication between the living and the dead and to protect the royal household. The Maya saw these powerful felines as their companions in the spiritual world, and a number of Maya rulers bore names that incorporated the Mayan word for jaguar (b'alam in many of the Mayan languages). The Aztec civilization shared this image of the jaguar as the representative of the ruler and as a warrior. The Aztecs formed an elite warrior class known as the Jaguar Knights.
Jaguar Warriors or Jaguar Knights (Nahuatl: ocēlōmeh) were members of the Aztec military. They were an elite military unit similar to the Eagle warriors. The jaguar motif was used due to the belief that the jaguar represented Tezcatlipoca, god of the night sky. Aztecs also wore these dresses at war because they believed the animal's strengths would be given to them during battles. Jaguar Warriors were used at the battlefront in military campaigns. They were also used to capture prisoners for sacrifice to the Aztec gods.To become a Jaguar warrior, a member of the Aztec Army had to capture at least four enemies during battles. This was said to honour their gods in a way far greater than killing enemy soldiers in the battlefield.