SOLD Unusual 19thc. Carved Stone Indian Head Tether

Hand carved from a piece of Texas limestone, this striking Indian head was originally fitted with a blacksmith-forged iron ring and used to tether horses. The stone itself came from the Freis family farm near Weimar, Texas, a community settled by German and Czechoslovakian immigrants in the mid-1800s. Family records indicate that Anton Freis and his wife immigrated to Texas from their native Austria between 1878 and 1881, settling in the Weimar area.

According to family history, the stone was carved within a few years of their arrival. The actual maker is unknown – family member or local stonemason? – but the likeness is so well rendered that it’s clearly the work of a skilled hand. Carved in profile on one side of the stone, the  head is in very good condition, as the photos show. Note the crisply defined nose, mouth and cheekbone, as well as the overall sharpness of the details, which give the piece such a lifelike quality.

With time, the original iron ring used to teather horses gave way and was replaced around 1920 with the twisted iron band you see in the photos. The carving has weathered well, with very minor erosion to one side of the feather. With the expressiveness of the likeness and sympathetic treatment of the subject, the tether transcends its utilitarian purpose and becomes a portrait in stone. 12” W X 11-1/2 H X 3” D. c. 1880


Click any image to enlarge it.