Zuni fetishes are small carvings made from various materials by the Zuni people. These carvings have traditionally served a ceremonial purpose for their creators and depict animals and icons integral to their culture. As a form of contemporary Native American art, they are sold with secular intentions to collectors worldwide.
This fabulous example of vintage Zuni jewelry features a hand carved Thunder-bird and 17 colorful carved, animal fetishes. All natural carved semi precious stones: turquoise, gold, pink and white mother of pearl, red jasper, landscape jasper, onyx, moss opal, jet, white jasper, to name a few, shaped into tiny animals (fox, wolf, badger, bear, deer, ram and squirrel). They are separated by heishi shell beads. The heishi used in this fine necklace are handmade, too, by the Santo Domingo tribe. Hand-rolling heishi is a very precise art, similar to the fetish carving.
Fetish necklaces are worn for healing, spiritual guidance, and protection purposes.
Overall a fine, colorful, hand made necklace, created by a Native American artist.
The ZUNI, or A'shiwi (which means "the flesh"), make their home today in western New Mexico. They are the modern day descendants of several different cultural groups including remnants of the ancient Mogollan and Anasazi peoples. The Zuni speak a Penutian language all their own, called Zunian, and their population presently numbers about 6,000. Although the Zuni farm and raise livestock, jewelry making contributes substantially to their income. Starting with pre-historic times Fetish Necklace have been carved and revived after examples were excavated at the Zuni Pueblo Site in Hawikuh, New Mexico in the 1920’s. A “fetish” is a natural shape or carved rock or shell in which a spirit is thought to dwell. Good treatment of the fetish is thought to supernaturally assist the owner; consequently fetishes are treated with great respect and care. In modern times sea shells are the main medium for fetish carving.