Sheep are almost synonymous with Navajo livestock, and protecting their flocks is very important to the herders.
But everyone can enjoy this stalwart little sheep, folk art carving, fetish, or delightful mini-sculpture. All three, actually.
This little sheep stands firmly on his/her sturdy legs, all one piece of alabaster. The turned head is a wonderful bit of realism.
It is textured across the head and body, creating a great facsimile of fleece, and polished on the muzzle and legs.
The sheepish face is beautifully carved in naturalistic detail, although turquoise blue eyes are rare, in real flocks!
The sinew holding that medicine bundle is decorated with tiny beads, real parrot feathers, and tiny, commercial beads.
Medicine bundles are meant to protect the animal from harm, and invoke the qualities of that particular animal.
In this case, to have abundant wool, for cloth, blankets and rugs, and plenty of meat for feasts.
Both stylized and very realistic, this is a small treasure, to enjoy as a fetish or a delightful carving – or both.