Badger (south) - these animals were known as healers, also possessed aggressiveness and perseverance
Bear (west) - the bear was also a symbol for healing, and displayed strength and introspection
Beaver- encouraged and supported family unity
Buffalo- displays strength and promotes endurance to rise above your weaknesses
Coyote (east) - encourages humor and the ability to laugh at yourself
Deer - represent a gentle nature and an abundance in the natural world
Eagle (zenith or sky) - this magnificent creature is highly regarded as a spirit and holds a strong connection to the Divine
Fox - is talented to hide with camouflage and represents protection
Frog - this fetish signifies fertility and also appeals to the spirits to bring rain to its people
Horse - represents strong partnerships and unwavering stamina, along with keen mobility and strength
Mole (nadir or underworld) - a protector and hunter of the underground
Mountain Lion (north) - this creatures possesses leadership and shows true resourcefulness
Owl - known for its wisdom, intelligence and patience
Ram - encourages male fertility
Raven - a true healer
Snake- represents a force that occurs in life, death and rebirth
Turtle - symbolizes longevity and promises rainfall
Wolf (east) - this animal is the teacher of all and the pathfinder on the journey of survival
Most carvings are made from stone, though for centuries the Zuni people have carved many for personal use out of different materials, such as wood, antler, shell, clay, coral and even silver. They believe that the spirits of the animals can act as messengers to the gods and provide them with protection from various evils in the world as well as promote the benefits of other elements.
As you will see with many of the pieces offered here at Kachina House, the animals are sometimes depicted with bundles of shells, stones, arrowheads, feathers and other symbolic elements. These bundles are offerings that the animal spirit will carry to the gods on behalf of the owner of the fetish. However, it is said that only the pure of heart will be able to stir the spirits with any true power.
Though many Native American Indian tribes use fetishes, the Zuni are recognized to be the most gifted and prolific carvers of these fascinating artifacts. If you are unable to find a particular Zuni fetish here, just email us and we’ll search our extensive collection of fetishes from our talented Zuni artists for you. Give us a call at 800-304-3290 and we’ll help you find the Zuni fetish you’re looking for!
Carvings marked with a double asterisk are special and were created by Herbert Halate from the alabaster he used for Donald "Doc" Sharp's headstone. Carvings marked with a single asterisk are from Donald's personal collection. Doc was a Zuni fetish trader, dear friend, teacher and pathfinder for many of us. He will be missed in the industry and mostly by everyone he touched in his life.