ZUNI FETISH ANIMAL CARVINGS
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Worldwide there are many collectors of Zuni Fetish Animal Carvings who love them
for their tactile beauty and their variety as well as for their spiritual connection.
Some come with massive price tags too.....
Rare, vintage or antique pieces by well known carvers can sell for £1,000's!
Ours are all much more affordable!
Each one comes gift boxed and with a Sacred Eagle Imports certificate of authenticity.
Take a look.......
Click on an image for more information and to place an order
The Zuni Creation Story
The Sun Father, (the Zuni life giver) created twin sons giving them a magic shield, a bow (rainbow) and arrows (lightning). Following massive floods the earth was left as swampland. Seeing that the earth needed to be dried they placed the shield on the ground, crossed the bow and arrows on top of it firing another arrow into the centre. This caused tremendous bolts of lightning to shoot in all directions which in turn caused fire to spread across the earth.
The earth was now dried out but it became too easy for predators to pursue and eat humans. To protect mankind the Twins then hit these animals with lightning, turning them into stone. However, the animal’s spirit remained alive within the stone. Therefore when a Zuni tribes-person found a stone that naturally resembled an animal they believed it to be one of the captured animals. From this simple beginning came the art of carving the stone to more closely resemble an animal and release the trapped spirit within.
(taken from 'A Guide to Zuni Fetishes & Carvings' by Kent McManis)
The Purpose of a Fetish
Traditionally fetishes are used for many purposes. Having an animal carving blessed by a priest or shaman is believed to make it more powerful and it then becomes a ‘true’ fetish.
They are used as hunting talismans, in healing ceremonies, as protection and for attracting abundance and fertility. The Zuni believe that animals are closer to their deities than humans are (and therefore more powerful) and that their powers are present within their fetishes. While each animal represnts something different it can represent anything its owner wishes it to. It might be carried in a medicine pouch or housed in a traditional ‘fetish bowl’ within the home.
A fetish bowl is a hand-made pot, usually encrusted with turquoise chips, with the four directional fetishes attached to the outside. Inside the pot, fetishes are stored in a mixture of wood ash and corn pollen. If a mole fetish is in residence, it is also kept in a leather bag because it doesn't like light. The fetishes are ceremonially 'fed' through a small hole in the side of the pot with blue cornmeal or crushed turquoise.
The most commonly carved animals are bear, coyote, buffalo, eagle, mountain lion, wolf and mole….but others can also be found…frog, owl, fox, snake, turtle and many more. Each represents a different direction and power:
The mountain lion – north
The badger - south
The bear - west
The wolf - east
The eagle - sky (above)
The mole - earth (below)
Some are decorated with a ‘heart line’ (often in the shape of a lightening flash) of turquoise or silver representing the magical path of the breath to the animal’s heart. They may also come with a ‘power pack or bundle’ fastened to their back, usually in the shape of an arrowhead decorated with stones or shells. This is to strengthen the fetish and increase its power.
The Zuni Artists
There many very talented individual Zuni carvers and there are several particularly well known families of carvers. The ones we are most familiar with are: the Quandelacys, the Quams, the Eriachos, the Boone, Lunasee and Chavaz families and there are many more.
Materials Used in Carving
Many different materials are now used - including antler, horn, bone, glass, amber and shell - but there are certain stones that are traditionally more often used for carving fetishes. Picasso marble, jet, alabaster, pipestone, serpentine, black marble, turquoise and dolomite are the most common ones, but any stone might be used if the carver can visualise the animals spirit it contains.