RICHMOND -- The proud, peripatetic Indian called Connecticut, who would seem to have found a perfect home here, peering with a concentrated squint over the edge of a concession stand above the main gate to this city's striking new baseball stadium, may yet resume his travels.

Washingtonians will recall that Connecticut was born five years ago in the nation's capital, in the Northwest alley studio of his creator, sculptor Paul DiPasquale. "The Brave," as he's familiarly called in Richmond, is made of hardened urethane foam with a skin of dyed Fiberglas. If he stood he'd be 70 feet tall, but his destiny is to remain in a permanent crouch, lifting himself with sinewy arms over the right-angled edge of a building.

The question -- which building? -- remains unresolved. He's comfortably occupied his present perch since June 1985, when the Triple-A Richmond Braves played their first game in the new stadium -- splendidly named "The Diamond" -- but from the beginning of last year's baseball season he's been there, rent-free, at DiPasquale's tolerance. The artist, who says he contributed more than $1,500 the first year to help install the sculpture and to pay for liability insurance, and who had a serious nibble from an interested buyer in northern Virginia early this year, is impatient.

"My feeling was, it's going to look great there, and they're going to want to keep it," he says. "Now I feel the piece belongs, and people like it, but I haven't received credit for it. Since the beginning of the year I've been asking for a commitment to rent it or buy it."

In response, the little-known Save the Brave Committee was organized last spring, and by June a corporate donor, Signet Bank, was ready to step forward with the money, reportedly $36,000, to buy the piece. But unpublicized negotiations among the parties involved -- the Braves, the bank, a citizen volunteer, the Richmond Metropolitan Authority (comprising representatives of the city and two contiguous counties) and its subsidiary, the Stadium Operating Committee -- so far have been inconclusive.

"It's time to fish or cut bait with Connecticut," says City Councilman William Leidinger, an avowed fan of both the Braves and the Brave who is attempting to move negotiations along. But no one directly involved will say precisely what the problem is.

"Generally speaking, the Stadium Operating Committee and the RMA board would like to keep the Indian" at the Diamond, says RMA General Manager Michael Berry in cautious bureaucratese. "At this point our interest {in saving the Brave} seems to be higher than theirs {the Braves ball club}," says Frank Morris, a vice president of Signet Bank. "We're involved just because we are the major tenant; we just lease the facility {the Diamond}," says Braves General Manager Bruce Baldwin noncommittally.

James DePasquale (no relation to the artist), an architect who instigated formation of the Save the Brave Committee because of simple appreciation for the work, says that "three or four weeks ago it became apparent that someone was stonewalling. There were some misunderstandings is the way I prefer to think of it. The general spirit and intent is still a good one."

Uncertainty is nothing new in Connecticut's brief existence. He was created to ornament Sherry's Wine & Liquor store in Washington, where he would have looked out over the busy intersection of Connecticut Avenue and Calvert Street NW and, beyond, over the Taft Bridge and pristine Rock Creek Park. That deal fell through when the owner, father to the son who was operating the store and who had agreed with DiPasquale that the Indian was a brilliant notion, was shocked to read about it in a newspaper and nixed the idea.

Connecticut then spent several disembodied months -- he comes in six pieces -- jammed into the artist's studio, a converted two-car garage in Woodley Park. His next stop was a Best Products outlet in Montgomery County, from which he watched the daily madness whizzing by on Interstate 70. He looked great there, too, as many a commuter can attest, but his sojourn lasted only nine months, from September 1983 to the following June, when he fell victim to an organizational shakeup at Best. "I was dealing with a whole new group of people," DiPasquale remembers, "and basically they weren't interested." The one-year lease was not renewed.

From there Connecticut went into storage again, this time in a Montgomery County warehouse, while DiPasquale looked around for clients. First he tried the Redskins, who declined. Then he thought of Richmond, where he'd spent several years in the mid-1970s earning his master of fine arts degree at Virginia Commonwealth University and to which, ironically, he has since moved. The artist recalls that Thomas Hanson, one of the architects of the Diamond, was enthusiastic and was able to touch all the right bases. The city came up with $2,000 in corporate donations, which, together with DiPasquale's money, covered moving and installation costs plus insurance for the first year.

The artist has received favorable exposure, but no money, from the sculpture's prominent placement -- in a way, it's been a highly public way to store the piece at a relatively minimal cost.

The financing of Connecticut is a saga all by itself. Fortunately DiPasquale turned out to be a creative marketer as well as artist, for necessity demanded it -- he's married and has two children.

He spent much of two years fabricating the piece. The $15,000 he had to pay for materials quickly ate up the $10,000 he had saved to do it, but he was able to raise an additional $11,250 by selling a limited edition of 50 prints showing Connecticut as he was to have looked atop Sherry's. This was an inventive scheme -- the artist contracted to return $200 of the $225 price of the print to buyers when the sculpture was sold "or cumulatively leased." He incurred about $2,200 additional expenses (for moving, storage, insurance) along the way, but earned nearly $18,500 from the Best Products lease.

If he were to sell the artwork for $36,000 he would make a profit of about $8,800 on the transaction, after paying out $10,000 to buyers of the print. His net income from his adventurous five-year stewardship of Connecticut, including the Best lease and $1,250 from the print, would be about $28,550. This, however, may not happen anytime soon. DiPasquale is certain that Connecticut eventually will find a permanent home, but allows that "it would be nice to sell him now and be able to put that money to use in new projects."

What has become clear during Connecticut's travels is that he is an enormously appealing piece of public sculpture. His road-sign scale is impressive, his gaze steely, his posture wary -- he could move quickly in any direction. He can be adopted as a specific symbol, as of a baseball team at the Diamond, but he's not simply an advertisement. His unflinching demeanor, especially when seen close up, can be unsettling. The quintessential Native American observer of contemporary America, he elicits curiosity, affection, respect and a certain uneasy awe wherever he goes. The genius of the conception resides in its universality -- Connecticut would fit, thematically, almost anywhere in the country because there's simply no place that the Native American did not occupy long before settlers from a more powerful civilization.

Thomson Hirst, a developer of office parks in Fairfax County, dearly wanted to buy Connecticut for his Cherokee Business Center there early this year but was thwarted by county regulations treating such public artworks as signs. "It's incredible to me that a county as progressive as Fairfax would prevent the display of this sculpture," he comments. "There was no better place for him -- we're located at the intersection of Cherokee Avenue and Shawnee Road and we're near the community of Indian Spring. There was an ancient Indian encampment near there. Some of the arrowheads found in that spot are on display in our little Native American museum."

Should he have to remove it from the Diamond, DiPasquale plans to install the sculpture atop the kitchen extension of his Richmond house. Connecticut would fit there, too, by almost magical coincidence. The house is on Fulton Hill, formerly Powhatan Hill -- said to be the very place where Chief Powhatan, his daughter Pocahontas and assembled tribal heads conducted their famous meeting with Capt. John Smith in December 1607.

Clearly, though, the better outcome would be for Connecticut permanently to stay where he is. The appearance of his name on a list of the city's statuary monuments and of post cards bearing his image attests to the fact that the process of institutionalization, familiar to all significant pieces of public sculpture, has begun. Richmond has taken to the Brave. If he departs the Diamond, as DiPasquale says, "there will be a vacuum. People will say, 'Gee, where's the Brave?' "