This coyote is dressed for a special occasion: Handsome striped blanket, fancy dress shirt, splendid jacla, turquoise and shell, necklace, dazzling turquoise bracelet, carefully coiffed hair (wig?).
He is hunkered down, wrapped in his blanket, with an alert, but benign, expression. Since coyotes are known to the Navajo as tricksters, you wonder, what he is up to?
Is he trying to blend in, and then pull some shenanigan? Or is the joke that a coyote looks so eminently respectable, almost like a friendly grandma, looking on at some festivity?
It does make you smile, but look closely, and you will see the artistry behind the whimsicality: The face is beautifully detailed, and realistic. Ditto the jewelry and the one, visible, furry paw.
That paw ends in wicked-looking claws that are demurely folded – another witty detail. The blanket drapes in soft folds that suggest the form of an animal sitting on its haunches.
The traditional hair-do, with yarn tying the bun, or chongo, is another wonderful bit of carving. Every element in this figure is distinctive, with its own, naturalistic texture
Around the base, three areas of pointed green forms resemble grassy ground, and also, a picket fence.
Marvin Jim is a foremost Navajo folk artist. With expert carving, pleasing colors, and a humorous subject, this coyote will have you smiling, and marveling, every day.