*Mother-of-pearl bear carving by Zuni carver Priscilla Lasiloo
*Mother-of-pearl rainbird and baby bears, abalone fish by Zuni carver Daryl Shack, Sr.
*Pearls, natural coral, seed beads
*Sterling and Thai silver beads and findings
*Signed, numbered, dated

Length:  19" - 24" (48 cm - 61 cm)
Bear:  2.5" (6 cm) wide
Drop:  5" (12 cm)long
Weight:  2.9 oz (87 gm)

Photo: Melinda Holden

Item #492 - Sold

Ice Bear Necklace and Earrings

Ice Bear Necklace
Ice Bear Necklace Detail
Ice Bear Earrings
Ice Bear Necklace
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What is this gorgeous bear made of? The Wiki article on mother of pearl or nacre explains. The bear is carved from an unusually beautiful piece which glows with rainbow colors. The bear is in medicine pose with her head down, and has a coral heartline on the left side only. The carver did not gift her with a bundle so to connect her with the necklace I added a shell point, Daryl Shack Sr.'s lovely rainbird (with inlaid eyes) and a bit of coral. Daryl's baby bear and abalone fish are included in the pendant. The earrings have more of his baby bears.

We have spoken so many times about Zuni carvings and in particular, the bear, it seems we might run out of fresh topics. However, I'm happy to report there is a fabulous new book out entitled ZUNI SPIRITS: A Portfolio Of Fine Zuni Fetish Carvings, available here. It includes carvings by the two artists whose work is used in this piece. If you subscribe to the Zuni Spirits mailing list, you know what superb photos Dave takes of these carvings. With the high resolution in the book, you can almost touch them! I was fascinated by the different surfaces displayed on one of the frog pages-- some are slippery and wet as though they just jumped out of the water, some are more matte as though hiding in the rocks as tree frogs do. Darlene's text identifies each piece, provides fascinating details about surface treatment, pose, the carver and his or her kinship ties, and emphasizes the spirit of the carvings. I highly recommend this beautiful book.

This bear could be a polar bear ("Nanook"), not native to Zuni so we will examine other sources for suggestions about its meaning. Males of the species are the largest terrestrial predators reaching up to 9' in height and 1,500 lbs. They can run up to 40 mph on land! They have a far better sense of smell than we do and are able to smell a seal under two feet of ice 20 miles away! I have a friend who says with regard to the Arctic, "there are only two things on the ice: polar bears and lunch." Sadly, due to climate change, polar bears are struggling for survival and are listed as "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act at the time of writing. And of course the polar bear immediately brings armored bears to mind, though I very much doubt the artist intended to reference The Golden Compass!

Ted Andrews (referenced below) mentions the bear can walk like a human, therefore many traditions think of bears as relatives. He says the polar bear is a shaman, a liaison with the spirit world. Since the cubs stay with mother for a very long time (two to five years), when the polar bear shows up it suggests a period of learning and power is commencing. Do not neglect to consider that the bear also loves to play! And no list of works relating to bear would be complete without mentioning Lois Sherr Dubin's extremely well researched and beautiful books on Native American Jewelry and on the transformational jewelry of Denise and Samuel Wallace.

I do hope you will order this beautiful bear today, connect with the magical realms, and learn her wisdom.