Female Effigy with Whale Shark Animal-Self



Female Effigy with Whale Shark Animal-Self




1200 - 1450 AD


Late Intermediate Period
South America, Central Andes, Central Coast


18 1/4 x 11 3/4 x 5 in. (46.3 x 29.8 x 12.7 cm)

Object Number



Female figures in the ancient Andes are bold, delicate, personable, and enigmatic; and female effigies took powerful positions during life and beyond. This Central Andean Chancay figure stands with arms out, ritualized and receptive. While she seems to wear a shirt, in fact the dark area represents body paint or tattooing. Her left upper chest shows the light imprint of a textile, evidence that she was originally dressed in an actual garment. The spot pattern, round eyes, and painted teeth along her jaw suggest feline features, as does the line down her back (found on jaguars). Thus, she displays the shaman's characteristic animal self and so too gains spiritual power.

Credit Line

Gift of William C. and Carol W. Thibadeau


Pre-Columbian Art from the Collections of Paul A. Clifford and William C. Thibadeau, The High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia, 1971|
Seeing with New Eyes: Pre-Columbian Art from the Thibideau Collection, Emory University Museum of Art and Archaeology, March 4 - October 13, 1992|
MCCM Permanent Collection Reinstallation, September 2002 - June 2012|
'For I am the Black Jaguar': Shamanic Visionary Experience in Ancient American Art, September 5, 2012 - January 5, 2013|
MCCM Permanent Collection Reinstallation, February 9, 2013 - Present
Pre-Columbian Art from the Collections of Paul A. Clifford and William C. Thibadeau (Atlanta: High Museum, 1971).|
Michael C. Carlos Museum Handbook (Atlanta: Michael C. Carlos Museum, 1996), 87.|
Rebecca Stone-Miller, Seeing With New Eyes: Highlights of the Michael C. Carlos Museum Collection of Art of the Ancient Americas (Atlanta: Michael C. Carlos Museum, 2002), 246-47, figure 558.|
MCCM Newsletter, March - May 2002.|
Michael C. Carlos Museum Highlights of the Collections (Atlanta: Michael C. Carlos Museum, 2011), 81.|
MCCM Newsletter, Fall/Winter 2012.|
Rebecca Stone, Art of the Andes:From Chavin to Inca. 3rd Edition (London: Thames & Hudson, 2012), frontispiece.|
Rebecca Stone, The Jaguar Within: Shamanic Trance in Ancient Central and South American Art (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2011), 161, figures 7.10 - 7.12.|
Susan Migden Socolow, The Women of Colonial Latin America. 2nd Edition (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015), Figure 1.


© Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University. Photo by Bruce M. White, 2008.
This image is provided by the Michael C. Carlos Museum of Emory University, who retains all rights in it. This image is made available for limited non-commercial, educational, and personal use only, or for fair use as defined by United States law. For all other uses, please contact the Michael C. Carlos Museum Office of Collections Services at +1(404) 727-4282 or mccm.collections.services@emory.edu. Users must cite the author and source of the image as they would material from any printed work, but not in any way that implies endorsement of the user or the user's use of the image. Users may not remove any copyright, trademark, or other proprietary notices, including without limitation attribution information, credits, and copyright notices that have been placed on or near the image by the Museum. The Museum assumes no responsibility for royalties or fees claimed by the artist or third parties. The User agrees to indemnify and hold harmless Emory University, its Michael C. Carlos Museum, its agents, employees, faculty members, students and trustees from and against any and all claims, losses, actions, damages, expenses, and all other liabilities, including but not limited to attorney’s fees, directly or indirectly arising out of or resulting from its use of photographic images for which permission is granted hereunder.

On View



“Female Effigy with Whale Shark Animal-Self,” Michael C. Carlos Museum Collections Online, accessed February 22, 2020, http://carlos.digitalscholarship.emory.edu/items/show/7540.

Social Bookmarking


Copy the code below into your web page