WHAT’S A ZUNI FETISH?

Native American Art - - SCULPTURE -

» Zuni fetishes tra­di­tion­ally have cer­e­mo­nial pur­poses, as the carv­ings ex­press a dif­fer­ent power or sig­nif­i­cance. “A bear fetish will keep you well, a moun­tain lion fetish will help pro­tect you when you travel and is also con­sid­ered to be a strength an­i­mal,” says Kent Mc­ma­nis, co-owner of Grey Dog Trad­ing and the soon to open Zuni Fetish Mu­seum in Al­bu­querque, New Mex­ico. “Frogs and tur­tles are to help make it rain.” » Be­cause of the cer­e­mo­nial as­pect of fetishes, it’s im­por­tant to note that the pieces col­lec­tors can pur­chase have not and can­not be blessed.

» Fetishes are made from a num­ber of ma­te­ri­als, in­clud­ing lo­cal and ex­otic stones, and they can range in size from small-scale pieces that you can carry with you or wear to larger works that go on shelves. » There are two main styles of fetishes, the old style and the nat­u­ral­is­tic style. “The old style fetishes have fairly min­i­mal carv­ing on them. The nat­u­ral­is­tic fetishes have a lot of de­tail­ing and look like the an­i­mal in minia­ture form,” says Mc­ma­nis. He adds that the old style usu­ally has “an in­ner feel­ing to it and has more of a sense of power to it,” while the nat­u­ral­is­tic pieces should be as ac­cu­rate as pos­si­ble.

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