Arvella Cheama is a sister of Fabian, Lance, and Wilfred Cheama. They are one of the most prestigious Zuni fetish carving families.
Their half-brother, Dan Quam, another honored carver, began the modern style of realistically detailed pieces, and the others soon followed, reaping awards through the past several decades.
This naturalistic owl is a wonderful example of Arvella’s talent.
For the Zuni, Owls are venerated as protectors and guardians of both the home, and the whole village.
Especially at night, their keen eyesight and loud hooting form a kind of natural alarm system, alerting the people of approaching danger.
Carved from one block of Picasso marble, the the artist has used the natural markings of the stone to emphasize the owl’s form: a swath of dark brown sweeps from the breast, following the shape of the folded wings, all the way to the opposite side.
A black line bisects the body of the bird, and ends at the pointed peak of its head.
Head turned, the owl is vigilant, his big, blue turquoise eyes piercing the (presumed) darkness.
His talons grip a rocky perch, and his entire body, head to tail, is minutely incised, to resemble feathers.
A fine carving, by a recognized master of the art, which will guard your home or office, and make your eyes happy, too!