Origin: Southwestern North America, likely Mimbres
Dimensions: 10.25″ long, 2.5″ wide, 3.5″ tall.
Description: Here is an ancient stone sculpture of a bear (suggested by large rear and head) or mountain lion (suggested by the elongated shape) in a sublime and elegant form. The head and rear are most pronounced, next the two sets of legs as two “mounds”, the back one larger than the front one.
This was a surface find, with the exposed side clean of any calcification. The buried side has a white crystalline matrix over the surface, likely calcium, that coats and fills in the surface pores. Seeing this helps to confirm the early age, as these deposits all came after the animal was created. The surface is an incredible texture of dense stone molded over time. The stone is very heavy, heavier than one would suspect. I believe this is a dense basalt, with iron oxide in it giving it the red/brown color. The natural color further suggests that this is a bear – a large brown bear.
The minimalist, implied form is so satisfying to the eye, as it lets us further conjure up the animal in our own mind, as if we are taking ownership of being with this animal.
Condition: Excellent with no restoration. All surfaces original.
Provenance: A private Santa Fe collector