Orange Alabaster Zuni Bear Fetish with Six Directions 9/400
Height 1 1/4"
Width 2 1/4"
This one of a kind bear fetish was hand-carved by a Zuni artist.
Fetishes, or “charm stones,” are created with the intention of being carried around, as they are believed to house mystical powers from the spirit of the animal it embodies. These “powers” can vary depending on the kind of symbol or animal carved, but often represent luck, protection, power, healing, or abundance. It is also believed that the kind of care the fetish receives is proportionate to the care it in turn provides.
The Bear is the principal animal for the Pueblo People and are the most prevalent fetishes. Bears are significant in Native American culture, and are revered as the protective animals of the west. They are used for healing, protection, journeying, mothering, hunting and gathering. Bear's hibernation reminds us of the value of going within. Seeing a bear was said to be a good omen, as they are associated with healing and medicine. Native peoples believed they had great healing powers, and could aid those who were injured or ill. The Zuni consider the white bear to have especially powerful healing medicine.
American Indians have used fetishes throughout recorded history, especially the Indians of the Southwest. The Zuni people of New Mexico are particularly well-known fetish carvers.
A fetish is an object that is believed to have magic powers. These little carvings are revered as tools for exploring the inner world or for asking spiritual helpers from the unseen world for their assistance in everyday life.
Fetishes may be of any form or material. Most are carved in the form of animals. Each type of animal possesses particular powers or magic. Regardless of the form or material, a fetish has one major purpose: to assist humankind in addressing any real or potential problems. these problems can be those of the mind, body, or universe.
Special care must be taken to see that the fetish is properly fed, admired, and cared for. The better treatment a fetish receives, the better performance it is likely to provide. Fetishes are often decorated with turquoise, coral, arrowheads, feathers, and so on. This adornment is a show of affection and appreciation by the fetish carver or owner. These "medicine bundles" also add to the magical power of the fetish.