Native American Fetishes | Zuni Fetishes
Native American Fetishes | Zuni Fetishes
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Top » Catalog » Zuni Fetishes Native American Fetishes

Native American Fetishes |  Zuni Fetishes

Native American Zuni Fetishes and Fetish Jewelry

Zuni Animal Fetishes ►
Animal Fetish Jewelry ►



Native American Zuni fetishes are small hand carved stone images of animals that are made by the talented Zuni Pueblo Artisans.

Zuni Pueblo is not just a name of an American Indian Tribe but it is a region in the Four Corners U.S.A. in the remote Northwest area of New Mexico about 150 miles west of the Rio Grande Valley. The population of the Zuni Pueblo Village has approximately 9500 to 10000 people and the primary revenue of its inhabitants is from their hand crafted art of making Native American Jewelry and hand carved Zuni fetishes.

These hand-carved fetishes remain part of the Zuni religion and culture and are believed to represent the animal spirit within the stone. Prior to the use of today’s power tools which produce finest contemporary, detailed carvings made, initially, Zuni fetishes were just stones that were found which had a rudimentary shape of an animal. The Zuni’s would place arrowheads on these stones to pray that the hunters arrow would find its mark, and give gratitude to the animal for giving its life for the sustenance of the hunter and his family.

The Zuni’s believe in six sacred directions with each direction being represented by a color: Above, North, East, South, West and Below. Each direction also has an animal associated with it both for fetishes believed to give healing and protection, and hunting fetishes which replace the badger with the bobcat as the southern animal, and the coyote replacing the bear as the animal of the west. You will find these directions and colors represented in their carvings:
Direction  Color  Healing & Protection Symbol  Hunter Symbol 
Above:  Multi-Colored  Eagle Eagle  
North:  Yellow  Mountain Lion Mountain Lion 
East:  White  Wolf Wolf  
South:  Red  Badger Bobcat
West:  Blue  Bear Coyote 
Below:  Black  Mole Mole  
 The gemstones used in the hand carving the Native American Zuni fetishes, must be in the appropriate color:
Direction  Color  Gemstone 
Above:  Multi-Colored  Picasso marble, Rainbow Calsilica, etc. 
North:  Yellow  Dolomite, Calcite, etc. 
East:  White  White marble, selenite, etc. 
South:  Red  Pipestone, Dolomite, etc. 
West:  Blue  Turquoise, Lapis, etc. 
Below:  Black  Jet, Black marble, etc. 

Many Native American Tribes produce and use fetishes, but it is the Zuni’s who are most renowned for their fetishes. Hand carved Zuni Fetishes have gained in popularity by collectors particularly since the 1980’s when an article was published in the Wall Street Journal about authentic hand carved Native American Zuni Fetishes. At this time, the number of Zuni people outside the culture also purchase Native American Zuni Fetishes for their belief to draw good fortune and ward off bad luck.

Although you may find other interpretations of the meanings of the Native American Fetishes, we have focused on our understanding of the Zunis’ definitions below.

Zuni Fetish Meaning:
  • Armadillo – represents the keeper of the home. He is slow-moving but makes sure things are done correctly. The armadillo is know for variety one’s inner life and he is thick-skinned.
  • Badger – representing the southern direction, and red in color, the badger’s key characteristics are passion, control and persistence and will not give up until he reaches his desired goal. Living close to the ground, he is believed to have knowledge of healing roots and herbs.
  • Bat – is representative as the guardian of the night.
  • Bear – representing the western direction in a healing and protective fetish, the bear is associated with the color blue and curative abilities. The bear is one of the most popular and important Zuni Fetishes characteristic of strength, courage and inner knowledge. White bears are believed to have especially powerful healing capacities.
  • Beaver - known for their building skills are industrious, diligent. They represent achievement and hard work as the builder of their home which therefore represents home, family and unity as the builder.
  • Buffalo – Although the buffalo did not roam as far south as the Zuni Pueblo, they were hunted in the north and east and were prized for their hides, meat and horn. The buffalo though is thought to represent prophesy and fulfillment of powers and is associated with strength, and steadfast endurance to rise above one’s weaknesses.
  • Butterfly – Characteristic of beauty and transformation. The butterfly fetish also represents rebirth.
  • Coyote – Representative of the western direction and the blue color, the coyote fetish replaces the bear in the hunting set. The coyote is characteristic of arrogance with a sense of self importance. Because of the coyote’s arrogance, he is believed to a great teacher to show us how ungratifying our impulsive nature and self-centeredness can make our lives more difficult.
  • Deer – characteristic of agility and speed, grace and gratitude he is believed to teach us gentleness.
  • Dog – naturally the dog fetish is representative of loyalty and friendship.
  • Dolphin – The dolphin’s natural characteristics include trust, friendship, kindness, and is very loyal.
  • Eagle – Representative of the sky, the eagle fetish is multi-colored and is part of the healing and protection, and hunting set, the eagle is thought to be the messenger to the gods and characteristic of dignity, grace, power and balance. Eagle feathers are still used today in Zuni ceremonies.
  • Falcon – The falcon has the intuitive ability to see the big picture in life. He is associated with power and harmony.
  • Fish – The fish fetish is believed to have the characteristic of hiding one’s emotions.
  • Fox – The fox fetish is thought to be characteristic of being clever and observant. Teaching us to become one with our surrounding, moving unnoticed and making ourselves invisible by blending in and planning our escape in an uncomfortable situation or when feeling threatened.
  • Frog – Representative of water, rain, prayers. Because of the frog fetishes’ association with fertility, women often keep a frog carving by their bed when hoping to become pregnant.
  • Hawk – characteristic of their hunting skills hawks keep rodents away from their people and crops. In similar fashion to eagles being the messengers to gods, hawks are believed to be messengers to people and between animals.
  • Horse – Although horses are not traditional animals for the Zuni’s, they have carved hose fetishes for years for other American Indian Tribes for herd protection. The horse fetish is believed to represent partnerships and strength and is associated with power and expanding one’s abilities.
  • Hummingbird – the hummingbird is a symbol of joy and beauty and represents ability to stop time.
  • Lizard – The lizard represents the characteristics of patience and wisdom and is the symbol of conversation and agility.
  • Mole – Moles are thought of as being guardians of the underworld for keeping gardens free of pests and are primarily black in color. Moles are to remind us of the subtle awareness for the things in life, keeping us grounded and providing the ability to look inward.
  • Moose – The moose represents the characteristics of self-esteem and confidence, and being headstrong.
  • Mountain Lion – The mountain lion is the guardian of the north and is associated with the yellow color in both the protective and hunting sets, and is thought to remind us to clarify our goals and move forward in achieving our dreams as a powerful hunter characteristic of the mountain lion. He is also believed to protect travelers on their journeys.
  • Otter – The otter is a mischievous creature thought to represent laughter and curiosity and grace.
  • Owl – is thought of as the protector of the home characteristic of wisdom, deception, and the ability to see what others cannot at night.
  • Ram – Represents a sense of self-worth. Said to assure an increase in flocks, herds.
  • Raven – The raven is an often carved fetish by the Zunis. While the raven is somewhat of a prankster, and thought of as clever, the raven is believed to help us work through failure and short-comings by reminding us of our ability to transform ourselves.
  • Skunk – the skunk is representative of inner strength, self-respect, will power and courage and self confidence.
  • Snake – Considered a hunter, the snake symbolizes life, death and rebirth. The snake is very important in Zuni ceremonies.
  • Squirrel – The squirrel symbolizes our instinct to gather, store and save for the future, Representing an ability to plan ahead.
  • Turtle – The turtle fetish is a symbol of Mother Earth and is associated with self-reliance, tenacity, a skillful navigator in life and non-violent defense.
  • Wolf – Representative of the East in the hunting set, the wolf is characteristic of loyalty to family and strong family values. The wolf fetish is mostly carved from white marble.
  • These authentic made Native American Zuni Fetishes are hand carved from turquoise, marble, jet, onyx, dolomite, wild horse magnesite, lapis and even abalone and antler.

    All Native American Fetishes and Native American Jewelry sold by Double Dee Deals are provided with certification of authenticity identifying the artists name and American Indian Tribe.

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