I needed somthing that would last in the weather so after carving and mounting, I covered it with Epoxy Resin. Now it not only looks good but the wood is sealed. It Should last a while.Sorry about the clarity of the photos.
To tell the truth, I'm not sure about the long term effects of weather. The place that this one is used however is in a shaded area and will get minimum rain on it. The Epoxy is a commercial grade and has a non-yellowing agent added to it. I used it on a small table that has been on my screened porch and is has gotton rained on many times over the past 3 years and it still looks good. So I'm hoping for the best.