Vintage Hand-Carved Wooden Eagle with Shield and Arrows

Presented is a vintage, Bellamy-style, hand-carved wooden eagle. This late 19th century to early 20th century wood eagle is bronze-brushed with a painted red, white, and blue shield. It supports a shield in its right talon as the head looks to its left. In its left talon is a bundle of arrows. 

When Charles Thomson put together the final design for the Great Seal, he placed a bundle of thirteen arrows in the eagle's left (sinister) talon. The official description specifies the bald eagle holding "in his sinister, a bundle of thirteen arrows." The thirteen arrows are tightly aligned – a symbol of "strength in unity" that's found in the traditional cultures everywhere, from the Romans to the Iroquois— in this case a nod to the unity of the original 13 colonies. The clutched shield has a blue chief. Twenty one alternating red and white stripes complete the shield design.

With carved detailed feathers and a dramatic expression, this stylized eagle is an interesting work of art. The relief carving is styled after John Bellamy, a well known folk artist made popular in the late 19th century for his stylized eagles and ship carvings. True to Bellamy’s style, this eagle has a flattened top beak, a curved neck to mimic the eagle in flight, and dramatic eyes.

The eagle motif in décor and folk art has widely been used throughout much of US history and is brimming with meaning. Eagles in decorative and folk art became wildly popular and could be found on ordinary household items from tabletop items, to embroidery,  to furniture. This deeply-rooted symbol is still relevant today and is closely tied to the idea of strength, freedom, and wisdom.


Overall, very good condition. This solid wood eagle has a small modern repair to the top of its right wing. Otherwise very solid construction and original paint is bright and colorful. 

Dimensions: 10" H x 29" W x 3 1/4"D.

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