The Basic Eight Zuni Fetish Images

Zuni cultural and religious tradition involves six directional fetishes – Mountain Lion, Bear, Badger, Wolf, Eagle and Mole. These six animals correspond to the four cardinal directions plus earth and sky.  These six images are the most popular and the most-often carved Zuni Fetish images.  Although not often seen anymore on the Zuni reservation, bears by far are the most frequently-carved image.  There is much speculation as to why this occurs.  It may be due to the fact that bears walk on all fours and that the bear can also move on two feet.  Among the six directional animals, the mountain lion is of the highest importance. There are two other image that are of great importance in the Zuni culture – frogs and turtles.  These two animals represent water and fertility. Interestingly, many collectors of animals, not just fetish collectors,  are intimately drawn to frogs and turtles.

Basic 8 Zuni Fetish Gallery -A2

Although almost all Zuni fetish carvers have carved the Basic Eight, we feature only a small number. of  Zuni fetish carvers in this gallery.  Most prominent is Lena Boone, who carves almost exclusively the Basic Eight with an occasional hunting bobcat.  All of Lena Boone’s carvings are made in the traditional style.  Others in the gallery include Micheal Laweka, Prudencia Quam, Rickson Kalestewa, Garrick Weeka, Cheryl Beyuka, Georgette Quam, Annie Quam Gasper, Jayne Quam and Dan Quam.