A stylized buffalo sculpture, or table fetish, that magnificently conveys the bulk and strength of the iconic animal. Despite the simplification of forms, it is immediately recognizable. The gifted carver, Andy Abeita, is part Zuni and part Isleta Pueblo. He has a strong following for his marvelous fetish carvings, who flock to the various art shows he participates in, all around the country. He often collaborates with his wife, Roberta, but this imposing buffalo is all his.
Somehow, the artist has made this animal both ponderous and graceful. The mighty presence of the buffalo is suggested in the lowered head and massive body, but at the same time, the abstract rounded lines are quite lovely. His head is slightly turned, with eyes and muzzle polished, to stand out against the matte “fur”. Inlaid jet punctuates the eyes, while dots of natural red coral and sky-blue turquoise appear at the ends of the horns and in the body.
Nicely contrasted with the rest of the piece, the horns are shiny silver. An incised heart line runs all around the piece, from one side to the next, framing the head. It is delicately scalloped and dotted, which refers to raindrops, and there is a stepped and dotted rain sign on one back leg. These are good luck symbols. Mottling and other natural variations in the stone suggest the shaggy coat of the beast.
A handsome sculpture that is also an homage to the animal that provided meat, shelter, clothing, and more, to generations of Natives.