Tonenili navajo rain god - hand carved & painted steer skull pendant
The steer skull is hand carved from cow bone and water buffalo horn then hand painted. Hanging from an 18K yellow gold vermeil sterling silver chain with adjustable length of 18 or 20 inches. Named after the Navajo god of rain, Tonenili. The Navajo hold a ceremony called the night chant, during these ceremonies a tribe member will dress up as Tonenili and dance. This ceremony is performed to either heal someone who is ill or heal the world when it is out of balance, a dance I am sure has been performed often over the last few years.
During the first several months of the pandemic my boyfriend and I quarantined in Bakersfield, California at his families ranch. Bakersfield is considered the Texas of California. The valley is flanked with citrus trees and small batch cattle ranches pushing up against golden grass hills winding through backroads littered with vintage oil rigs and farming equipment.
The highlight of each day was our morning hike through the rocky meadow, land that was once inhabited by the Yokut Indians. Along our hike we would comb the landscape for animal skeletons, wild flowers and perfectly formed round rocks. Inspired by our treasure hunts I found myself once again, in the "creative cave". Mixing together the the colors of the wild flowers and seasonal change along with the element of bone and horn produced this limited addition wearable totem.