WHAT’S A ZUNI FETISH?
» 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.