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What is a Zuni Fetish?

Carefully shaped by Zuni artisans, fetishes are a physical embodiment of a living spirit. Traditionally, native peoples of the Southwest created carvings to represent the totem animals of the Six Cardinal Directions (the pivotal points of nature). By taking thoughtful care of the fetish, in return, the spirit imbues its keeper with guidance.

Today, fetishes are fashioned after a diverse selection of animals and spirits; each with their own meanings, strengths, and weaknesses. These sculptures are made from a variety of materials, mostly stone and mineral, but organic mediums are also used, such as tagua nut and antler.

FETISHES OF THE SIX DIRECTIONS

EAST Wolf

SOUTH Badger

WEST Black Bear

NORTH Mountain Lion

SKY Eagle

UNDERWORLD Mole

SYMBOLISM OF ZUNI FETISHES

Heartline

Gives the spirit breath and life

Offering Bundle

Offering to the universe

Cornmeal

Feeds the spirit

Fetish Pot

A fetish’s home

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