|Cloak K Howell Pastel on Paper 21 cm x 14 cm|
Antlered animals are part of the forest, and the seasonal bone growth is both an extension of the essential beast and an echo of its environment. The majestic headdress is shed when the bone is dead and no longer of use.
The anthropomorphic antlered form is very interesting. I like its Celtic manifestation as seen on the Gundestrup Cauldron, known as Cernunnos. He seems very genial, together and, well, flexible. His solidarity with fellow woodland creatures is most clearly shown by his excellent set of antlers. And while he is gripping that snake solidly below the head, it does seem like the snake might be amorous. Hard to tell with reptiles.
Covered by vascular skin, antler bone is supplied with oxygen and nutrients from the outside until fully formed. Osteoclasts (A bunch of cells with a Cromwellian aspect shouting, The bone must die!) destroy the antler bone at the base, resulting in shedding, usually in late winter or early spring in preparation for growing a new rack.
Antlers are a display of hormonal activity, a tool for foraging, a weapon in combat. They must be heavy, and most human antler systems are removable. But antlers for a day; wouldn't that be fun?