Turtle shield


A brilliant creation by Molly Murphy, an award-winning artist. The color scheme is striking, and the hand dyed wool creates color variations that lend the surface more depth than would a flat color.

Artist’s concept statement: “This piece is a sculptural version of an umbilical fetish. In many Plains cultures the umbilical stump of an infant was saved and put in an elaborate beaded fetish (usually in the shape of a turtle, sometimes a lizard). This was to be kept with the child until about age six when more independence from mother was appropriate. Then the fetish was given back to the mother to keep the bond between mother and child safe. The idea is to create a form of protection in the shape of the turtle around this last link to maternal safety. The turtle is often a symbol of safety, protection, longevity, and feminine reproductive powers. Turtle symbols are used to evoke images of water, safety, and support.

“In this piece the window panel frames a pattern of squares that imitates turtle shell patterns. This panel folds down to reveal the turtle shell pattern as the center of a larger four-directions cosmology symbol. On the corners are two abstract damselflies (or dragonflies) in keeping with the water theme. It may seem random, but while thinking of this piece I was reminded of a lullaby in Lakota I heard where the baby is called little baby bug, little dragonfly. So I wanted to add the damselflies cruising the water line.”

Hand dyed wool, horse hair, metal findings, Czech glass trim beads, Czech tri-cut beads, silk, Japanese seed beads, Czech seed beads, interfacing, aeronautical plywood, Nymo brand nylon thread, jeweler’s magnet.

12″ wide x 11 1/2″ high when fully extended, from top of hanger to bottom

Out of stock


See information above.

Weight 9 lbs
Dimensions 14 × 12 × 4 in
© 2023 Home & Away Gallery