Colourful Little Birds


Colourful little birds sculpture

More Little Birds.  This time the Little Bird sculptures are full of colour, courtesy minerals deposited in the sediment which formed the stone, namely iron oxide.

These bands of rich, rust colouring really add some special character to these small sculptures.

Little Birds garden sculpture

As I was carving these two I began to wonder who carved the very first bird sculpture and what inspired it to be made.

A sculpted piece of mammoth ivory may be the earliest representation of a bird, found in a cave in Germany. The 30 000 year old figurine depicts what looks to be a diving cormorant with swept-back wings.

The first known stone carvings are Bird Stones made by Native Americans.  These pre-historic bird shaped stones were abstract and noted for their distinctive simplicity and beauty.  They first appeared some 5000 years ago and were a common inclusion in graves, perhaps they had a ceremonial importance of some kind.

small stone birds

Most of these birds have a small hole drilled at the base of the neck and another lower down, presumably for mounting.  There is some suggestion that they were part of an atlatl (a short rod to hurl spears), or that these artifacts were worn as decorative items denoting marriage status or pregnancy, and as totems representing tribes.  The stones range in size from three to six inches, and have unique variations in style.

I rather like the idea they suggest a group or society with a common culture, I suppose my two birds are totems of a kind.  It is rather a nice thought that they are symbols for like-minded, nature loving, bird appreciating others.

Two Little Birds sculpture

It connects me somehow with those early sculptors – we can only guess at their inspirations, but so often the interpretations come down to the carvings seeming to demonstrate a respect for the natural world.  They may depict creatures that impressed early humans with their power or skill, or with which people felt they shared common characteristics.

How I’d love to go back in time and meet those creative carvers, and wonder what they would make of my birds.






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