February 23, 2016
🕐 9 Min Read
It’s time to dive into the rich history and cultural significance of skull carving and the Buffalo Skull.
The Significance of Animal Skulls
Sure, seeing an animal part mounted on a wall may suggest you’re in a hunter’s lair. For an animal lover, this may seem appalling, but what most outsiders don’t know is it roots from a centuries-old tradition. And what’s fascinating about early cultures is that they’re more in tune with the natural wonders of the world. Indigenous tribes from different nations are more connected to Earth and that’s what we’re catching up on after the boom of global warming and singularity.
Since they work together with nature or in the truest sense – one with, they are bound to all living things. So even if they hunt animals for food, clothing, and ritual purposes, they see it as energy sharing and such creatures don’t transcend without being highly appreciated.
The art of animal skull carving goes way back to our youngest ancestors who used animal skulls as a way to blur the meaning of death to universal wisdom – that we only live once.
Buffalo skull carvings are spiritual. They are a snooze button on your wall to feel the present moment.
Here’s a deeper take on why you’d want it in your life!
The Ancient Art of Animal Skull Carving
For Native Americans and most indigenous clans eons ago, everything was meant for something. Every bit of the plants and animals that gave them sources of life were used up for another life. Nothing went to waste, not even the bones. Since death is just a new horizon in their perspective, the animal skulls were made into artful reminders that death is indeed beautiful. What’s more, is that they believe that the energy of the skull’s former spirit will be passed onto the one who now possesses it.
To honor their traditional ways, the original way of skull carving was preserved up to this day. Some still create from animals they’ve hunted, but others prefer to use cruelty-free animal bones. This custom not only displays the artistry of the tribes, but also revives the skull with a new purpose.
For taxidermy artists, collectors, and enthusiasts, the only purpose of gathering natural antiquity should be to preserve the wonders of nature’s beautiful creatures. Taxidermy is used to glorify the natural world and at the same time help educate other people about animals. Most of us can only see a buffalo from books, the screen, or from afar, but with taxidermy, we can look at it face to face and feel like we are also in the wild.
It should be never done for fad or money and must be treated with dignity and respect. For those who aren’t linked to a native bloodline, it is best not to kill animals for their bones, but use found bones instead. Although there are some animals that are legally protected so you cannot use their remnants even when found dead. That said, you might wanna do your homework before anything else.
The True Color of the Buffalo
Also known as the North American Bison and Tatanka, the buffalo is the most honored animal in Native American tribes within North America. The magnificent creature provided food, clothing, shelter, tools, and medicine for the peoples. With its gigantic frame, the buffalo can transfix anyone merely by its presence. It symbolizes abundance, provision, strength, stability, and prosperity.
The buffalo’s skull was used for sacred rituals as mediums for prayers to Wakan Tanka or “The Divine” in the Lakota way of life. Skulls were also displayed outside their homes to give information about the people inside and at the same time protect them. Even up to this day, the buffalo is revered as an important symbol to American Indian tribes who have preserved their traditional ceremonies.
White Buffalo Meaning And Its Spiritual Significance
The white buffalo is considered as a holy animal. When we see it in our dreams or meditation practice, it suggests that a blessing is on its way. According to Native American myths, the buffalo is linked to the pipe or smoke. Legend has it that the White Buffalo Calf Woman imparted wisdom to the Lakota in the form of agriculture and also how to live in the Universe as a whole.
Through metaphysical ways, she left a message that all things are interconnected. She instilled wisdom in the Lakota to treasure being human as each and every one of us impacts everything on a grander scale. She also gave the people the Sacred Pipe that when used can translate her wisdom to what our brains can understand.
As the buffalo skull is turned into artful carvings, the impact is magnified. The chiseled patterns in a carved buffalo skull washes away the former meaning of the relic into the opposite of negativity, fear, and death.
Famous Animal Skull Enthusiast
Back in the 30’s, Georgia O’Keeffe created “Cow's Skull with Calico Roses”, a painting of a cow skull embellished with a macabre kind of artificial flowers used to adorn graves in New Mexico. It was exhibited in Alfred Stieglitz gallery, An American Place, between 1931 and 1932. O’Keeffe’s inspiration rooted in a drought she had witnessed in the South West. It was so bad that skeletons were seen all over the landscape as many animals starved to death. She was moved by the happening and was fascinated enough to bring some back to New York to be able to paint them.
She noted, "To me they are as beautiful as anything I know...The bones seem to cut sharply to the center of something that is keenly alive on the desert even tho' it is vast and empty and untouchable." - Excerpt from Art Institvet Chicago
Why You Should Own a Buffalo Skull
Whether it’s mounted on your living room, office, bedroom, or displayed by the bar, fence, or patio, the buffalo skull changes the whole look of the space. Shifting in motif, style, and execution, it is never dull as it can always uplift the room simply by its fierce façade. Since the buffalo symbolizes abundance and freedom and is considered as sacred by Native American tribes, their contribution as an immortalized part of space brings an air of the Great Plains or the Old West to the viewer.
Aside from capturing a certain rustic feel, a buffalo skull mounted on your wall will show your appreciation for the buffalo’s role in the world, your perception towards birth and death, and your closeness to natural matter. Seeing it day by day, you’ll be reminded of its great significance and the mere thought will ignite goodness before you start your day. The same goes for when you have guests coming over. It will act as a conversation starter or a think piece and the subjects that will be tackled are bits of wisdom they’ll be able to take home with them.
Skull Bliss showcases a collection of animal skull carvings including the buffalo skull. Our pieces are handcrafted by Balinese Indigenous Artists and run by a western management in Bali, Indonesia. We uphold the iconic Balinese tradition by ethically acquiring cruelty-free animal skulls. Each buffalo carving is masterfully etched to produce unique pieces for every designer, collector, or handmade-art enthusiast. Our craftsmen shape every piece for 2-3 days so that no two designs are ever the same. Each buffalo skull is as exquisite as the other and every latticework evokes a different feel.
The carved buffalo skull’s extra-long horns enrich the garnished tracery through contrasting colors and texture that makes it flexible to various backgrounds. From basic to energetic or rustic to veined, our carved skull will complement any wall or corner. Framed in lax tribal patterns, such masterpieces show balanced swells of etchings that give off a suave shift between the firm features and the delicate trim.
Giving Back to the Makers
The beauty and depth of the buffalo skulls are undeniable. And the whole world is in awe of this kind of art. Unfortunately, most local artists aren’t really recognized for their talent and their works aren’t enough to support their families. Since they cannot merge passion and profession, they are forced to quit their creative work. Aside from the message that should be spread for each animal skull carving, we also wanted to share how the Balinese artists’ craft has shaped these artworks from what was to what it is now in the eyes of the modern appreciators.
So to be able to let them continue their passions and at the same time provide for their families, we’ve created Skull Bliss that can fully support and share their craft. With this, art connoisseurs and even ordinary people from around the world can have the chance to get to know the beautiful work our Master Carvers are doing. Best of all, they’ll experience the gift to have a buffalo skull that’s unlike any other ornament as it’s a glorious part of a centuries old tradition.
Be part of a wonderful cause by owning an exceptional buffalo skull carving