Imagine a universe where
all things interconnect, sharing a common spirit. From the center of
the earth to the outer reaches of the cosmos, every-thing human and
For the Zuni (A:shiwi), this inter-relationship created a hierarchy
of being. Humans are both the smartest and the most distant from the
Creator and, therefore, the most vulnerable to danger. Animals, are
the most natural and, therefore, closest to the Creator, with immediate
access to the power of the Creator.
As might be expected in a culture with a history
that is primarily oral, there are variations on the Zuni creation story.
Common to most appears to be the belief that the Creator placed the
Zuni on a land that was swampy and dangerous, filled with animals that were
more adept at survival than humans and threatening to the Zuni. Zuni
cosmology believes the two sons of the Creator made the land dry and
habitable and, through the casting down
of lightning bolts, turned many of the animals to stone.
The spirit of the animal remained in the stone, in the same way the
life force remains in a seed. Stones that resembled animals, found on
the ground, were believed to retain the power and character-istics of
the animals they resembled. When a Zuni priest or medicine man consecrates these stones, they are believed to be formidable
mediums for contacting the Spirit world and powerful allies for the
hunter or individual or collective protection.In
the sweep of time, Zuni carvers came first to modify the stones to better
resemble the animal and then to carve distinguishable animal shapes
in stones that were shapeless.
As carving was refined and
the available materials expanded, the carving of "fetishes" grew into
an art form. Such carvings still can become formal fetish objects if
blessed by a sacred tribal leader or informal fetish objects if invested
with power by the owner of the carving. The power and protection of
the carving largely depends on the faith and belief of the person who
owns it, and the respect with which it is treated.Traditional
fetish carvings were kept in fetish bowls with a hole in the side so
that they could be "fed." Ground corn or corn pollen and pulverized
turquoise would be placed in front of the fetish. After a suitable interval,
during which the fetish was able to absorb the spirit of the meal, the
meal would be taken away and buried.
Today, owners of fetish carvings are expected to provide safe and comfortable
care for them, including occasional feeding. It is said, "if you
take care of the fetish, it will take care of you."
Click here for the continuation of this essay
and more about Zuni fetish carving traditions.
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What our customers
say about us:
"She (the carving) is
absolutely gorgeous and the immediate centerpiece of my maiden collection!
Thank you" - M
"The bear has arrived
after a long journey. I find it very beautifull! Thank you for the
pleasant and good process." - AB, Netherlands
"Thank you Susanne
and William. I don't know a lot about directional sets but believe
I picked the one for good health I hope. My daughter lost everything
and is on disability now and shes been so excited about my Zuni collection.
Thank you so much for helping me with this. Its been a real blessing
and please tell Lena Boone how much we appreciate and love the set...
Thanks" - L