Like a great many Americana collectors, I love interesting hand-carved folk art owls. And this rustic example is a real find. The sculpture is crafted from a single block of wood that has a rugged, outdoorsy character and texture– a texture made even more dramatic by the use of different carving techniques.
As the photos show, the unknown craftsman of the piece chiseled, etched, crosshatched and chip-carved his way to an eye-catching creature that’s strikingly life-like. Someone in the birding world might recognize the carved owl as a particular type. I’m not sure. But the large round head, big eyes, pronounced beak and wide wingspan may be tell-tail clues.
Again, the entire sculpture is carved from a single chunk of wood that includes a 10-1/2” x 2” x 6” base. The wings are open, slightly curved, and measure 22” in width from one side to the other. The body of the owl is 9-1/2” T x 4-1/2” W x nearly 6” D. The owl’s head alone is 4” T x 4-1/2” W x 5-1/2” D.
The sculpture has a chip in the right hand wink but is in very good overall condition with no other loss or repairs. It probably dates from the first half of the 20th century, possible earlier. Origin unknown.