The Mythological Majesty of the Panther & the Iconic Cartier Panthère Ring

In the tapestry of mythological history, the Panther emerges as a creature of enigmatic allure and multifaceted symbolism. This legendary animal, often depicted with a multi-coloured hide, has been revered across various cultures for its majestic presence and mystical powers.

According to ancient mythology and beliefs, the Panther would feast and then retreat into a cave for three days. Upon awakening, it would emit a sweet- smelling odour attracting all creatures (except the dragon, which was immune to its trickery), and catch its next unsuspecting prey. And so the cycle repeats…

The Panther’s mythological significance extends to its representation in medieval Heraldry, where it is often portrayed with flames emanating from its mouth and ears, symbolizing the creature’s Devine breath. The image of the Panther rearing and incensed or angry, with its vibrant spots and fiery breath, has been a symbol of nobility, purity, and the Devine message in Christian iconography, where it is seen as a representation of Christ.

-“A Feline Symbol for Christ”-

In nearly every entry of a bestiary, real and mythological beings are connected to Christian messages. The panther, too, embodies the predominant religion of medieval Europe. Like other animals in the bestiary, such as the tiger, stag, and pelican, the Panther is a symbol for Christ.

The Book of the Beasts -GETTY

How do we know this? The three clues are the length of time the Panther sleeps, its sweet breath, and its multi-coloured coat:

  • In Christianity, it is believed that Jesus Christ was crucified on a Friday (Good Friday) and was resurrected on the following Sunday (Easter). Three days elapsed between Jesus’ death and rebirth, the same span of time in which the panther sleeps.
  • The Panther’s sweet roar parallels the way in which Jesus spoke with the voice of God. All beasts follow the holy Panther, just as Christianity asks all people to follow the guidance and protection of Christ.
  • The Panther’s counterpart, the Dragon—representative of the Devil—hides from the Cat, who has become the supreme Protector. In this context, the colours of the Panther’s coat take on a new light: as symbolic of Christ’s many virtuous qualities.

The medieval bestiary transforms the Panther into a symbol of Christ, with the rainbowed illustrations of the animal reflecting his wisdom and holiness. As the embodiment of Christ, the Panther is able to bring complete harmony and unity to the animal kingdom while also providing protection from Evil. This parallels medieval politics, as medieval Christianity asserted its claim as a religion capable of bringing stability and tranquility to the European and African continents.

In the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, the Panther has re-emerged as a symbol of leadership and unity. In comics, civil rights activism, and, now, cinema, the feline has become synonymous with equality and strength. The powers of guidance and protection given to the Panther in medieval bestiaries are still seen today—simply without direct religious implications.”
(Meet 19 animals of the medieval bestiary in Book of Beasts, a blog series created by art history students at UCLA with guidance from professor Meredith Cohen and curator Larisa Grollemond. The posts complement the exhibition Book of Beasts at the Getty Center from May 14 to August 18, 2019. —Ed.@GETTY)

Transitioning from the realm of myth to the pinnacle of luxury, the Panther motif finds a new embodiment in the exquisite Jewellery designs of Luxe brand Cartier. The Cartier Panthère ring, in particular, stands as a testament to the brand’s enduring fascination with this majestic beast. The Panther first appeared in Cartier’s creations as a pattern of white diamonds and onyx on a bracelet watch in 1914, symbolizing untamed elegance and fierce determination.

The Panthère ring, with its iconic design, is more than just a piece of Jewellery; it is a symbol of power, grace, and magnetic elegance. It reflects the spirit of the Panther, embodying the union of strength and beauty.


The ring’s symbolism is deeply rooted in the legacy of Jeane Touissant, Cartier’s creative director in the 1930’s, whom was affectionately known as “La Pantherè”. Her bold and visionary spirit is captured in the ring’s design, which continues to inspire and captivate those who wear it.

The Cartier Panthère ring is not merely an accessory; it is a wearable piece of art that carries the weight of history and the whispers of mythological tales. It serves as a reminder of the transformative power of design and the enduring allure of the Panther, a creature that has captivated the human imagination for centuries.

In conclusion, the Panther’s journey from the pages of ancient bestiaries to the luxurious showcases of Cartier is a testament to its timeless appeal and symbolic potency. The Cartier Panthère ring, with its elegant contours and symbolic depth, continues to enchant and signify the wearer’s own story of resilience and elegance, much like the mythical Panther that roars in the heart of the wilderness.

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