The Cheama family, some of the leading fetish carvers of Zuni are widely collected and have won countless awards. They are credited with developing the realistic style of carving. This mountain ram demonstrates the skill and artistry of prize-winning carver Lance Cheama.
The heavily patterned stone makes it difficult to appreciate the fine carving and stance – see the 3rd photo for a clearer look.The body is carved into textures suggesting the shaggy coat of this prey animal. His boldly curved horns are also realistically detailed.
As dramatic as that, and the attitude of the animal – seemingly poised for a confrontation – is the stone itself. Picasso marble is dramatically marked in abstract patterns, and the carver has used it in a ying/yang way: one side of the ram is dark, the other side has mostly creamy gold hues.
The sense of action and coiled strength that has been carved into inert stone is admirable.