Created with all the expertise, experience, and artistry of this master of antler carving, this ravishing maiden is a collector’s jewel. Natural antler has been meticulously carved and polished, a sleek background for the lavish inlay of multi-colored shells and stones. Wonderful details are seen in her hair, the fringe of her dress, the wrapped moccasins, and, of course, the inlaid designs.
Using the natural curve of the antler, she appears demure and shy; her head slightly to the side with downcast gaze and leaning forward a bit. One foot is turned out a little, so she seems to be standing with her weight mostly on the right one. And, let’s not ignore her wonderful hairdo. Meticulously chiseled, her hair is arranged in the classic Zuni and Hopi maiden’s style, with plump coils at each side of the head and thick bangs. A dot of jet centers the coils, “holding” them in place.
Hands are clasped in front, completing the prim, maidenly pose. There is nothing shy about her gorgeous adornment, though! A rich assortment of colored stones, with flashes of iridescence from abalone shell and mother of pearl, decorate her dress and her neck.
She sports a delicate necklace of natural red coral “beads”, with a luminous pink coral pendant, surrounded by sky-blue turquoise. The same turquoise forms her bright blue eyes and another dot of red coral indicates her mouth. The v-neck of her dress is outlined with an inlaid band of many colors including lapis, red coral, mother of pearl, turquoise, and jet. The sleeves are decorated with incised dragonflies, and double lines – both water symbols. A tiny piece of vivid blue turquoise centers a little cross on her midriff; a symbol of the four corners of the earth, where the blessings of water are meant to extend. Two dots of dark green malachite or jade complete the decoration, with a row of red coral on the cuffs.
Below, there are jet black lines in a triangular pattern, dotted with bright blue turquoise within each one. A broad band of inlaid stones glows and glistens with color and iridescence just below this. With spiny oyster shell, turquoise and abalone shell in the front, the colors and textures of the materials are carried throughout the figure. Then there is the fringe at the hem: a masterful bit of fabulous carving. Each individual fringe has been burned at the end, for design quality and/or to suggest eagle feathers, relating to the toasty and dark brown feathers on her head. The soles of her formal white moccasins are also brown, just as they would be in real life.
But there is even more to marvel at, and enjoy. At the back, her dress is incised in an elaborate star pattern, inlaid with multicolored stones, and surrounded by teeny dots of sparkling silver. Again, the stones inlaid at the bottom of the dress are arranged to coordinate in color and luminosity with the rest of the design seen here.
Everything about this exquisite carving is handmade with natural materials, and made with perfect skill and artistry. Truly, a little gem worthy of the artist’s outstanding reputation – and your collection.