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Stephen Lyman


Uzumati - Great Bear Of Yosemite

Price:  $269.99
Item#:  1930

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32 x 21.25 in.
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about this piece
Little more than 100 years ago a huge bear roamed California. It vied in size with the 1800-pound Alaskan brown bears and was seen with such frequency that when a man talked of a bear he was naturally referring to a grizzly. The great bear impressed people so much it was even placed on the state flag.

An animal of tremendous size and strength, the grizzly had no predators, save man, but man's fascination with this mighty bruin led rapidly to its extinction. Fur for robes, meat for food and oil for cooking all made the bears useful, but most of them were killed for sport. It became popular to pit the bear against bulls in spectacular fights to the death. Grizzly Adams thrilled many show-goers with his famous grizzlies, whom he had obtained in Yosemite as cubs after killing their mother. The last grizzly seen in Yosemite was shot in 1895. By 1921, the California race of grizzly was extinct.

'Yosemite' is probably derived from the Miwok Indian word for grizzly bear -'Uzumati.' In this painting, I have hearkened back to a time long past when 'Uzumati' roamed the canyons of Yosemite, lumbering over rock, through brush and across rivers, as it had for thousands of years. The 'great bear' will never come back. All I can do now is imagine what it was like and share that image through my painting.

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