Scythian Sheep

in honour of Dolly

4x4x2" / coloured pencil on bristol cutout with botanical paper background on birch block

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Scythian Sheep

Scythian-style sheep in honour of Dolly, who went to freezer camp because she was dreadfully mean, but very beautiful, so I personally processed and saved her skull to make art with - and also made this piece, in the style of tattoos found on the preserved bodies of Scythian hunters. Prey animals are represented with their bodies twisted, back feet and front feet facing opposite directions, but with all the energy and grace of their living form; presumably they were tattooed onto hunters who had taken those kills as a way of making that animal’s energy part of themselves permanently.

One of the very earliest tattoos discovered on an excavated human corpse was on a so-called Scythian princess, who bore a stag in this style on her upper arm.

Sheep are communal creatures, but surprisingly strong in a pinch. They can be fierce fighters when threatened but generally live calm, peaceful lives when left to their own devices. They are one of the earliest domesticated companions humans chose to pair our fortunes with, and much of their value comes not from their worth as food but rather their wool, which continues to be one of the most varied and resilient natural fibers used in textiles the world over.

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