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Mountain Lion Necklace


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Puma Necklace   This necklace features:
*Hand carved tagua nut puma signed "Octaviano Woonan"
*Trade beads, etched agate bead
*Robert Burkett sterling mouse
*Hand made borosilicate bead by Gail Crosman-Moore
*Seed beads, horn
*Sterling armature

Length:  26" (66 cm)
Tassel:  5" (13 cm)
Mountain lion:  2" (5 cm) long
Weight:  4.1 oz (124 gm)

Click here to see how this piece looks when worn.

Photo: Melinda Holden
  Item #204             Private Collection
Please click on the image for a detailed photo.
This necklace was designed around Octaviano's magnificent tagua nut ("vegetable ivory") carving. (You can see more Wounaan Indian carvings at Red Horse Ranch.) Somehow the artist found this playful puma while working around the natural hole in the nut. I hope you will click on the picture to see a detailed image of the little cat. The naturalistic pose, beautiful fur texture, and detailed painting make this carving extraordinary! You will see traces of the dark rind of the nut on her haunch-- Octaviano always leaves a bit of rind on the back of his carvings. It enables you to see how the animal was nestled into the nut before he uncovered her.

Now, putting this kitty into a beaded tree was a challenge! The lower portion of the tree is gourd stitch, which means each seed bead was sewn on individually. Let me assure you, this naughty cat wrapped her paws around the thread for every single bead! One would have thought she would tire of the game, but NO! Tangling my thread became her obsession! (Note that since the tree is built on a sterling armature, it is possible to adjust its shape to conform to your body.)

The roots (tassel) include some fine old trade beads, apparently two of them were made after the Venetians realized the Africans were grinding up their fancy millifiore trade beads, separating out the yellow glass and re-casting it! It also includes an incredibly rich hand-made borosilicate bead, horn, turquoise, etc. I added a fish and mouse to this composition for the puma's lunch (a lesson learned from Borneo ikats).

Peter Limburg tells a charming story about how the puma or cougar came to be called a mountain lion. He claims that Dutch traders in New Amsterdam thought cougar pelts were from female lions. They asked the Indians why this was. The Indians, never ones to pass up an opportunity to pull a joke on the ignorant traders, said the males lived in a distant mountain range and were so fierce no one dared to hunt them. (What's in the Name of Wild Animals)

Ted Andrews says "The cougar teaches decisiveness in the use of personal power." (Animal-Speak) Sams and Carson give it the attribute leadership. (Medicine Cards) Please give this magnificent cat a home by ordering her today.

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All designs © Mary Hicklin 2001-2004