Bear fox fetish necklace
Personal jewelry has been popular in the Southwest for hundreds of years. The archaeological record establishes that Zuni people have drilled and shaped strings of stones and shells for jewelry since at least AD. As Native American jewelry became popular in the last century, Zuni artists still used ancient techniques: beads were hand-drilled and fetishes hand-carved. Modern jewelry styles, like the fetish necklace, reference their earlier turquoise pendant and shell necklace predecessors. Even shell was used in early Puebloan jewelry from trade routes from the Gulf of California. Although all Pueblos have a tradition of carving fetishes, Zuni have long been known to be the best carvers.
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American Indians have used fetishes throughout recorded history. Fetishes are believed to hold magical powers and protect the owner or craftsmen from various problems of mind or body. Some believe that their mystical powers can even protect against problems of the universe. It is also believed that the care a fetish receives is directly proportional to the protection it will provide. Indians believe that fetishes must be properly cared for.
Zuni fetishes are small carvings made from primarily stone but also shell, fossils, and other materials by the Zuni people. Within the Zuni community, these carvings serve ceremonial purposes for their creators and depict animals and icons integral to their culture. As a form of contemporary Native American art , they are sold with secular intentions to collectors worldwide. Prior to the establishment of a non-Native market for fetishes, Hopi , Navajo , and other Pueblo peoples , especially at Kewa Pueblo also carved and used fetishes. The primary non-Native source for academic information on Zuni fetishes is the Second Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology submitted in by Frank Hamilton Cushing and posthumously published as Zuni Fetishes in , with several later reprints.