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Vivid and mystical, the jaguar holds a sacred place in Maya mysticism and architecture. Used for ornamentation, the original mask was taken from its location without proper recording, and at Jaguar Archeological Project it was concluded it comes from El Salvador's western regions. This replica is carved by hand with extraordinary care for artistic detail, including a crest and triangular beak where fangs denote power. Featuring painted details and conscious of the environment, the Jaguar Archeological Project only uses branches and does not cut down trees.
Throughout El Salvador there have been found images depicting the jaguar with a crest, big mouth and fangs, as well as an inverted "u" shaped nostrils and swirling eyes. Known as Balam or Chac, according to Maya cosmogony the jaguar represents nature’s elements: water, earth, fire, and air. Maya shamans, priests and rulers used the jaguar as a symbol of authority and leadership. The upper part of the head usually represents life elements, and the lower part connotes a skeleton. Jaguar masks are believed to represent the transformation of a human into a being with magical powers.