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early 20th century Unidentified carved and painted wood 26 1/4 x 16 5/8 x 7/8 in. (66.7 x 42.2 x 2.2 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Herbert Waide Hemphill, Jr. and museum purchase made possible by Ralph Cross Johnson 1986.65.294 Not currently on view

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This carving illustrates a story from the first book of Kings in the Old Testament. God wanted to punish the evil king of Israel, so he sent Elijah to tell the king that he would stop the rain from falling for three years. To escape the king’s anger, Elijah ran away to the desert where the ravens brought him “bread and meat” every day. The unknown artist used elements from the story, such as the ravens, the boulders in the river, and the folds in Elijah’s cloak, to create an eye-catching pattern of carved textures and bright colors.


Animal - bird - raven

Landscape - garden

Religion - Old Testament - Elizah


folk art