Length: 8 inches
Circumference: 10 inches
Hand Crafted in South Africa
This beautiful ceramic Christmas ornament has been hand painted and signed. On the one side is the rhino and on the other is a savannah scene. The production process is as follows. Each piece is hand cast and hand shaped to perfection: When dry, each piece is bisque-fired (1000 degrees Celsius): After the bisque-firing, colorful decorations are hand painted on; The balls, being put on special spikes, are subject to a color-maturing firing (800 degrees Celsius) There after each piece is hand glazed and glaze fired to 1080 degrees Celsius, again on special spikes to ensure that the glaze surface is not exposed to touch and damage; If required, gold and /or platinum luster details are hand painted on with the finest brushes; and Lastly a fourth firing up to 720 degrees Celsius is done, again using the same spikes, so as not to damage any color, glaze or luster surface.
The rhinoceros is a large, primitive-looking mammal that in fact dates from the Miocene era millions of years ago. In recent decades rhinos have been relentlessly hunted to the point of near extinction. Since 1970 the world rhino population has declined by 90 percent, with five species remaining in the world today, all of which are endangered.
The white or square-lipped rhino is one of two rhino species in Africa. It in turn occurs as two subspecies, the southern and the northern. The southern dwindled almost to extinction in the early 20th century, but was protected on farms and reserves, enabling it to increase enough to be reintroduced. The northern white rhino has recovered in Democratic Republic of Congo from about 15 in 1984 to about 30 in the late 1990s. This population, however, has recently been severely threatened by political conflict and instability.
The white rhino's name derives from the Dutch "weit," meaning wide, a reference to its wide, square muzzle adapted for grazing. The white rhino, which is actually gray, has a pronounced hump on the neck and a long face.
The black, or hooked-lipped, rhino, along with all other rhino species, is an odd-toed ungulate (three toes on each foot). It has a thick, hairless, gray hide. Both the black and white rhino have two horns, the longer of which sits at the front of the nose. Black rhinos have various habitats, but mainly areas with dense, woody vegetation. White rhinos live in savannas with water holes, mud wallows and shade trees. Rhinos live in home ranges that sometimes overlap with each other. Feeding grounds, water holes and wallows may be shared. The black rhino is usually solitary.
The white rhino tends to be much more gregarious. Rhinos are also rather ill-tempered and have become more so in areas where they have been constantly disturbed. While their eyesight is poor, which is probably why they will sometimes charge without apparent reason, their sense of smell and hearing are very good. They have an extended "vocabulary" of growls, grunts, squeaks, snorts and bellows.
When attacking, the rhino lowers its head, snorts, breaks into a gallop reaching speeds of 30 miles an hour, and gores or strikes powerful blows with its horns. Still, for all its bulk, the rhino is very agile and can quickly turn in a small space.
The rhino has a symbiotic relationship with ox-peckers, also called tick birds. In Swahili the tick bird is named "askari wa kifaru," meaning "the rhino's guard." The bird eats ticks it finds on the rhino and noisily warns of danger. Although the birds also eat blood from sores on the rhino's skin and thus obstruct healing, they are still tolerated.
Umbrella Thorn Acacia is one of the most recognizable trees of the African savanna.
The Umbrella Thorn grows up to 20 meters high and has a spreading, flat-topped crown that gives it its name. The bark on the Acacia is black to gray in color and feels rough. The branches on the Acacia are gnarled. The Umbrella Thorn has two types of thorns on the branches; long, straight, brownish thorns and shorter, hooked thorns that grow alongside each other. The thorns grow in pairs and disguise themselves in the clusters of flowers that grow on the Acacia.
The Acacia provides shade for the animals of the savanna. The trunk of the tree makes very good charcoal and firewood. The flowers on the Acacia provide a good source of honey in some regions. The stem of the tree is used to treat asthma, and diarrhea. The bark of the acacia is used as a disinfectant, and the pods are used to make porridge.
The Acacia is not endangered, and it is actually plentiful. There are over 700 species of the Acacia in Africa