Why Do Maya Rulers Wear Jaguar Pelts?

Move the arrows to see the ruler wearing jaguar skin

Why do we see rulers wearing jaguar pelts (skin), either as part of their clothing, or placed on their thrones or in their tombs? Can you give an example of jaguar skin painted on a Maya pot?

The answers can be found in Dr Diane’s website!

Write your answer in the comments box below – the person who gets it rights wins their very own Maya expert badge!


The jaguar is the largest beast in the rainforest, it is the most dangerous and most powerful – it is the king of the Maya rainforest.  Therefore the rulers wanted the power, the spirit of the jaguar, being kings of the Maya people.

Therefore, they believed that if they wore jaguar skin they would receive the power of the jaguar. Moreover, if they placed it on their throne or lay on in their tomb they were saying that they have the spirit of the jaguar.

An example of pottery with jaguar skin (black spots) painted on is the wonderful chocolate pot found in a ruler’s tomb in Rio Azul, Guatemala. The painting of jaguar spots shows that a ruler owned it.

Learn more about the chocolate pot

Lean more about the jaguar

One response to “Why Do Maya Rulers Wear Jaguar Pelts?”

  1. Phil Alldritt says:

    Jaguars Gods of the Underworld. Rulers show power over the Underworld Gods by wearing their pelts.

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