Micaceous Clay Mountain Lion
This mightily talented potter turned away from pots to create this imposing fetish figure, in the traditional, abstract style, but in non-traditional clay, rather than stone.
The clay slip covering it is filled with mica fragments; the tiny sparks contrast with the smoky darkness of the fired clay.
The medicine bundle is of natural parrot feathers, with bits of turquoise and spiny oyster shell, representing sky and earth.
Mountain lion is the Guardian Animal of the North, offering protection through his strength and size, and hunting help through his position as a major predatory animal.
He is always shown with the tail lying over his back, as here. (Look at the secondary photo to see it more clearly.)
This is a very orthodox depiction of a mountain lion fetish – except for the medium of clay.
Not carved from stone, it is not, properly speaking, a fetish.
Constantly searching and experimenting, the artist alludes to tradition in his work but never makes the expected.
With an allure partly primitive, partly contemporary, this compelling fetish figure is an example of the amazing versatility of this highly respected and accomplished potter.