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  • Carved Zuni Fetishes an Introduction

    Carved Zuni Fetishes For the past two centuries across the American southwest, in silent ruins and cave shelters, archaeologists have unearthed 1000 year old carved Zuni fetishes: duck-like birds of chalk turquoise, a frog of polished jet, birds of hematite, aragonite and tiny, turquoise tadpoles to name a few. Many of these items have holes drilled in them, possibly for cords to suspend about the neck. What did these objects signify and how were they used? For answers to these questions one must look to the modern day Zuni, the Native American tribe most noted for their fine, carved Zuni ... [Read More]

  • Zuni Fetishes

    Zuni Fetishes One of the most popular arts, nearly equal in importance to Zuni jewelry, is Zuni fetishes. The origin of small figures carved of shell and native stone goes so far back into ancient history it may be considered always part of Zuni culture. Unlike other art forms, Zuni fetishes were the sole property of that tribe. Carved animals of the hunt and the field, were traded to Navajos and other Pueblos. Today the Navajos have added fetishes to their talents, but they did not make them traditionally. The word fetish has negative connotations in American English, but it ... [Read More]

  • Allunite - Zuni Fetish Carving Material

    Allunite You don’t have to travel far in the Four Corners area to find the rocks used in Zuni fetish carvings. Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico and Utah are all very rich with minerals. Allunite comes from Utah and can be very diverse in its look. You can find this material in white, gray, yellowish gary, reddish gray, and yellowish white. As well as all of the different colors the mineral can range from transparent to semitransparent. Allunite - Zuni Fetish Carving Material You find the mineral in classic Nevada mining country. The big and dry desert mountains found in ... [Read More]

  • Deer Antler - Zuni Fetish Carving

    Deer Antler Drive through the Four Corners area and you are likely to see mule deer, elk and antelope.  Did you know that deer antler color can vary depending on the location the deer was harvested from?  Variations are usually the result of the amount of oxidized blood left over from velvet shedding and the type of plant the buck uses to help shed it's velvet. The chemical reaction between the blood and sap present in the tree or bush used to rub the antlers can sometimes lead to interesting color variations. Deer Antler - Zuni Fetish Fetishes made from deer antlers are ... [Read More]

  • Dolomite - Zunis Fetishes

    Dolomite Dolomite Bear Zuni Fetish Dolomite is a sedimentary carbonate rock similar to limestone, but much harder.  It has a unique saddle-shaped crystal made of calcium magnesium carbonate.  It is most commonly found in areas of Europe (particularly Italy), Canada and Africa.  Not a traditional Zuni carved stone, the carvers that do use it like it for its bone color. It can vary in color though, from white-to-gray and white-to-light brown. Less commonly, colors such as red, green and black are possible. Because it is a hard mineral to carve, it isn't a common material used in Zuni fetishes. Most ... [Read More]

  • Onyx - Zuni Fetishes

    Onyx Onyx is a mineral like marble or granite.  It is a form of chalcedony, and as such is part of the quartz group. Like the other stones in the chalcedony family, this material has a smooth, waxy luster. It can be found in a wide range of colors (white, reddish brown, brown and banded), often in contrasting layers.  You often see the mineral in black and white parallel layers or in brown and white layers called sardonyx.  You can see such layering in the armadillo fetish below that is carved by Abby Quam and Clayton Panteah. Onyx - Fetish ... [Read More]

  • Alabaster - Carved Zuni Fetishes

    Alabaster Alabaster is a fine-grained translucent form of gypsum that is typically white.  Although white can be most common, the mineral can come with shades of red and orange. Alabaster is a name applied to varieties of two distinct minerals, when used as a material, gypsum and calcite.  In general, but not always, ancient stones in Egypt and the Near & Middle East are calcite, and in medieval Europe are gypsum. Modern stones are probably calcite, but may be either. Both are easy to 'work' and as both are slightly water-soluble, have been used for making a variety of indoor artworks ... [Read More]

  • Serpentine - Zuni Fetish Carving Material

    Serpentine Serpentine is a beautiful group of about 20 related minerals, usually green, yellowish-green, or brownish-green in color. Its name is thought to be derived from its serpent-like green colors.   Serpentine is sometimes also referred to as "Fish Rock".  The material is usually translucent to opaque.  It is a very common mineral, mined all over the world. Like many minerals used in Zuni carvings it is mined near the Zuni Reservation. In the Four Corners Area it is mined in Gila Co., Arizona, about 2 hours south of the Zuni Reservation. Serpentine - Zuni Fetish You will find the ... [Read More]

  • Picasso Marble - Zuni Fetish Carving

    Picasso Marble Travel around the Southwest and you will see a variety of landscapes from brilliant red mesas, to dense mountain forests to rugged deserts.  It is in this rugged terrain we find this stunning marble, a common stone used in Zuni fetish carvings.  Picasso marble, also called Picasso jasper, is mined in the Four Corners area in the Star and Frisco mining areas  west of Milford, Utah. Picasso Marble - Zuni Fetish It gets its name from the criss-crossing matrix of black lines that resemble an abstract painting.  When cut the marble can look like a dense forest ... [Read More]

  • Apple Coral - Zuni Fetish Carving Material

    Apple Coral Apple coral is part of the species of corals known as melithaea sponge, which is commonly found on the ocean floors around the waters of Taiwan, Indonesia and southern China.  Some varieties of coral have been banned from mining and collecting due to the destruction of corral reefs around the world. Apple corral is not, however, included in this ban.  Currently, this variety of corral is not endangered and environment-conscious jewelers and retailers have turned to it in leu of other endangered varieties.   With continued global warming and the death of corral reefs this may change and apple ... [Read More]

  • Jet - Zuni Fetish Carvings

    Jet Jet is a beautiful black mineraloid.  It's not a true mineral because it is made from organic material - decaying wood under intense pressure.  Jet is found in the Four Corners area near the Acoma PuebloIt has been prized for centuries, the Romans used it believing it to have healing properties.  It was especially popular during the reign of Queen Victoria in England who began wearing it as "mourning jewelry." Jet - Zuni Fetish Coal is created in much the same way as jet.  However, this material is much less friable and can be cut, carved and polished to ... [Read More]

  • Travertine Zuni Rock Fetish Carving Material

    Travertine Zuni Rock Fetish Carving Material Travertine is often thought of for countertops, backsplashes, and floors, but it's also a great medium for Zuni fetish carvers.  It is even referred to as "Zuni Rock".  Its found extensively in the Four Corners area in the Grand Canyon and Glenwood Canyon in Colorado.  Its also found throughout Texas, Oklahoma, and most notably in Yellowstone National Park.  Travertine Zuni Rock can be polished to a smooth, shiny finish, and comes in a variety of colors from grey to coral-red. Travertine Zuni Rock If you spend time in the South west you might ... [Read More]

  • Bear Zuni Fetish Meaning

    Bear Zuni Fetish Meaning In Zuni culture a fetish represents the animal spirit thought to reside in the stone.  What is the Bear Zuni Fetish Meaning? The Bear is the guardian and master of the west.  His fetish represents healing and protection.  The Bear is associated with the color blue and known for his curative powers. Though all bears are healers, white bears are particularly powerful. Characteristics associated with bears include strength, courage, adaptability, healing and spiritual communion. Bear Zuni Fetish Meaning Zuni believe that the Bear is invaluable if  you are faced with change and transition.  It can be your ally when you ... [Read More]

  • Mountain Lion Zuni Fetish Meaning

    Mountain Lion Zuni Fetish Meaning What is the Mountain Lion Zuni Fetish Meaning? The Mountain Lion is the guardian and master of the North in Zuni culture.  He is thought to be the most powerful hunter and appears in both hunting and healing directional sets of fetishes.  In Zuni culture a fetish represents the animal spirit thought to reside in the stone.  The Mountain Lion is endowed with peculiar powers of sight and smell.  He is the older brother of the bear and represents leadership, resourcefulness, cunning and clarity,  independence,  spiritual intensity, intuition, fierce protectiveness and loyalty.  It is carried ... [Read More]

  • Wolf Zuni Fetish Meaning

    Wolf Zuni Fetish Meaning What is the Wolf Zuni Fetish Meaning? The Wolf is guardian and master or prey god of the East.  He is the younger brother of bobcat in the hunting directional set. of fetishes.  In Zuni culture a fetish represents the animal spirit thought to reside in the stone.  The wolf represents not just successful hunting, but also the ability to work together for the good of the group because of its pack mentality.  It is a teacher, pathfinder, and represents a sharing of knowledge. He teaches inner guidance and clarity. Wolf Zuni Fetish Meaning Wolf ... [Read More]

  • Mole Zuni Fetish Meaning

    Mole Zuni Fetish Meaning What is the Mole Zuni Fetish Meaning? The Mole is the guardian and master of the lower regions because he burrows through the earth without tiring.  He is the younger brother of the Eagle. He protects crops from disease and pests that threaten the harvest.  The Mole fetish represents awareness, grounding and introspection.  It is included in both the healing and hunting directional fetish sets, and usually carved in black to represent the color of its coat and the color of the holes and caves of the earth.  Artists sometimes inlay these fetishes with eyes, but ... [Read More]

  • Eagle Zuni Fetish Meaning

    Eagle Zuni Fetish Meaning What is the Eagle Zuni Fetish Meaning? The Eagle is the guardian and master or prey god of the Upper regions because he flies through the skies without tiring and his coat is speckled like the clouds.  He is the younger brother of the wolf and the older brother of the mole.  The Eagle is the messenger to the gods and his fetish represents power, balance, dignity, vision, higher truth and grace.  In Zuni culture a fetish represents the animal spirit thought to reside in the stone.  The eagle is found in both the healing and ... [Read More]

  • Coyote Zuni Fetish Meaning

    Coyote Zuni Fetish Meaning What is the Coyote Zuni Fetish Meaning? The Coyote is the Hunter God of the West.  The Coyote represents laughter, humor and the ability to learn from ones own foolishness.  He is a master trickster and characterized by arrogance and a sense of self-importance.  These characteristics can teach us how our impulsive choices and self-centeredness fail us. Coyote Zuni Fetish Meaning In Zuni culture a fetish represents the animal spirit thought to reside in the stone.  The Coyote may be used when hunting rabbit.   He is usually carved in the howling position.  There is an ancient ... [Read More]

  • Badger Zuni Fetish Meaning

    Badger Zuni Fetish Meaning The Badger is the guardian and master of the South.   In Zuni culture a fetish represents the animal spirit thought to reside in the stone.   He is usually represented by the color red.  He is part of the healing and protective fetish sets.  The Badger is a prey god, the younger brother of the bear.  What is the Badger Zuni Fetish Meaning? Because he lives close to the ground he has a great knowledge of the earth,  understanding of agriculture, and it is believed that he has knowledge of healing roots and herbs.  He is characterized ... [Read More]

  • Bobcat Zuni Fetish Meaning

    Bobcat Zuni Fetish Meaning The Bobcat is a Zuni prey god and is the elder brother of the Wolf and represents the southern direction in the hunting directional set.  In Zuni culture a fetish represents the animal spirit thought to reside in the stone.  Prey gods of the hunt are placed in a buckskin bag and carried by the hunter over his heart. The fetish aids in the chase and represents "the roar of the animal" and is also fed on the blood of the slain prey.  It is believed that the hearts of the great animals of prey are infused ... [Read More]

  • Horned Toad Zuni Fetish Meaning

    Horned Toad Zuni Fetish Meaning Fetishes are an important part of Zuni culture.  In Zuni culture a fetish represents the animal spirit thought to reside in the stone.  What is the Horned Toad Zuni Fetish Meaning? The Horned Toad represents longevity and self-reliance.  He also represents the conservation of native bounty.  He is believed to empower a person or group with self-sufficiency. Horned Toad Zuni Fetish Meaning If a carving is believed to have power it is a fetish.  Fetishes are used in religious, healing, protection, and hunting ceremonies.  The power can be used to protect or hurt, but if ... [Read More]

  • Fox Zuni Fetish Meaning

    Fox Zuni Fetish Meaning In Zuni culture fetishes play an important role.  A fetish is a an animal carved in stone, bone or antler.  If the animal's spirit resides in the stone it is considered a fetish and is thought to be very powerful.  The fox fetish will look similar to the wolf fetish, but will have an elongated, fluffy tail.  Typically the facial features will be delicate with pointed ears and noses. What is the Fox Zuni Fetish Meaning? Fox Zuni Fetish Meaning The fox represents protection and the ability to blend in, or become camouflaged with ones ... [Read More]

  • Owl Zuni Fetish Meaning

    Owl Zuni Fetish Meaning In Zuni culture a fetish represents the animal spirit thought to reside in the stone. It is believed that fetishes require a meal of cornmeal and ground turquoise occasionally.. Fetishes may be kept in a clay pot as it is the tradition.  However,  collectors usually like to keep theirs somewhere where they can be admired and enjoyed.  If you add an owl to your collection you may be wondering what it represents and why it is significant. What is the Owl Zuni Fetish Meaning? Owl Zuni Fetish Meaning The owl is the protector of the ... [Read More]

  • Frog Zuni Fetish Meaning

    Frog Zuni Fetish Meaning Fetishes are an important part in Zuni tradition and culture.  In Zuni culture a fetish represents the animal spirit thought to reside in the stone.  The Frog is believed to be able to petition the spirits to bring forth abundant rain.   In Zuni, New Mexico this is a very important thing because the climate is arid, considered "high desert."  This is one of the most common fetishes found today, and one of the oldest dating types of fetishes.  What is the Frog Zuni Fetish Meaning? The Frog also represents fertility.  It is said that keeping ... [Read More]

  • Turtle Zuni Fetish Meaning

    Turtle Zuni Fetish Meaning If you have a turtle or tortoise fetish you may wonder what it represents or why it is significant. What is the Turtle Zuni Fetish Meaning? The turtle is the oldest symbol of Mother Earth and represents longevity and is used for healing.  Some believe that the possession of a turtle fetish allows one to defy death.  He also represents water, which in the high dessert climate of Zuni is a precious commodity. Turtle Zuni Fetish Meaning In Zuni culture a fetish represents the animal spirit thought to reside in the stone.  It is believed ... [Read More]

  • Sheep Ram Zuni Fetish Meaning

    Sheep Ram Zuni Fetish Meaning If you have a collection of Zuni fetishes including sheep or a ram you may be curious what it means. What is the Sheep Ram Zuni Fetish Meaning? A sheep, mountain goat, big horned sheep or ram is used to increase the size of a herd.  These also represent a sense of self-worth. Sheep Ram Zuni Fetish Meaning In Zuni culture a fetish represents the animal spirit thought to reside in the stone.  It is believed that fetishes require a meal of cornmeal and ground turquoise occasionally.. Fetishes may be kept in a clay ... [Read More]

  • Rabbit Zuni Fetish Meaning

    Rabbit Zuni Fetish Meaning If you collect Zuni fetishes, you may have a rabbit in your collection.  Rabbits are not, however, traditional fetishes in Zuni culture.  They have become popular through trade with other tribes and requests of collectors.   In Zuni culture a fetish represents the animal spirit thought to reside in the stone.  What is the Rabbit Zuni Fetish meaning? Because the rabbit is usually prey for other animals it may represents facing one's fears.  Rabbits are also known for their abundant procreation and therefore can be associated with fertility and birthing. Rabbit Zuni Fetish Meaning It ... [Read More]

  • Lizard Zuni Fetish Meaning

    Lizard Zuni Fetish Meaning If you are a collector of Zuni fetishes you may have a lizard in your collection.  Fetishes are an important part of Zuni culture and represent the spirit that is believed to reside within the stone.  What is the lizard Zuni Fetish Meaning? It can represent agility and conversation. Animals such as beaver, lizards and horned toads, while often part of Zuni mythology, are not generally "fetish" animals in the same sense that other animals that are considered prey gods (wolf, mountain lion, eagle, mole, etc) or protection gods (wolf, badger, mole, bear, etc) are, or ... [Read More]

  • Spider Zuni Fetish Meaning

    Spider Zuni Fetish Meaning What is the Spider Zuni Fetish Meaning? Fetishes play an important role in Zuni culture.  Whether you are a collector of fetishes, or wanting to simply understand the culture better, you may wonder what certain fetishes mean.  In this case, let's discuss the Spider.  Generally the Spider represents creativity and is considered the weaver of the fabric of life.  It is not a traditional Zuni fetish but may have gained popularity through trade with other tribes and the demands of collectors. Spider Zuni Fetish Meaning In Zuni culture a fetish represents the animal spirit thought ... [Read More]

  • Armadillo Zuni Fetish Meaning

    Armadillo Zuni Fetish Meaning In the Zuni culture fetishes play an important role.   In Zuni culture a fetish represents the animal spirit thought to reside in the stone.   If your collection includes an armadillo you may wonder what it represents. What is the Armadillo Zuni Fetish Meaning? The armadillo is slow and sure.  Because he is reserved, he takes his time and does things right.   He is keeper of the home and represents variety in a person's inner life.   The armadillo’s leathery armor-like hide helps to protect them from predators.  This thick skin represents his ability to offer protection ... [Read More]

  • Squirrel Zuni Fetish Meaning

    Squirrel Zuni Fetish Meaning What is the Squirrel Zuni Fetish Meaning? Squirrels are known for planning for the future and storing away things for a day when there is need for them.  Fetishes play an important role in Zuni culture, and if you have a squirrel in your collection you may wonder what it represents.  The squirrel embodies natural intelligence, saving, and the protection of  reserves.  He represents the ability to plan ahead and is very industrious. Squirrel Zuni Fetish Meaning A fetish represents the animal spirit thought to reside in the stone.  It is believed that fetishes require a ... [Read More]

  • Rooster Zuni Fetish Meaning

    Rooster Zuni Fetish Meaning What is the Rooster Zuni Fetish Meaning? Anyone with a basic knowledge of chickens knowns that the rooster is always the first animal awake in the morning.   The "early bird gets the worm, " and the Zuni fetish of a rooster represents that tendency  to rise early and to settle for nothing less than the very best of things.  He is also considered vain and likes to be given attention and lavished with gifts. Rooster Zuni Fetish Meaning In Zuni culture a fetish represents the animal spirit thought to reside in the stone. It is ... [Read More]

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