Gemstone Fetish Bead Necklace

Gemstone Fetish Bead Necklace


Two strands of hand carved southwestern assorted animal fetish beads of onyx, pipestone,turquoise, mother of pearl, abalone, coral, “etc, collected over time” Sterling chain and ‘blossom’ bead closure.

What is a “Fetish Bead”?

The main source for academic information on Zuni fetishes is the Second Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology submitted in 1881 by Frank Hamilton Cushing and posthumously published as Zuni Fetishes in 1966, with several later reprints. Cushingreports that the Zuni divided the world into six regions or directions: north, west, south, east, above, and below. At the center of each region is a great mountain peak that is a very sacred place. Yellow mountain to the north, blue mountain to the west, red mountain to the south, white mountain to the east, the multi-colored mountain above, and the black mountain below.

Each direction is represented by a Prey God, or guardian animal, and are listed by Cushing as follows:

north — the yellow mountain lion,

west — the black bear (represented by the color blue),

south — the red badger,

east — the white wolf,

above or the sky — the multi-colored eagle,

below or underground — the black mole.

Each prey god is the “guardian and master” of their region, with the yellow mountain lion being the elder brother of all animals and the master and guardian of all regions. Each one of these regions contains an order of all the guardian animals, but the "guardian and master" of a particular region is the elder brother to all animals of that region. These guardians are considered as having protective and healing powers. They are held by the priests of the medicine orders as if "in captivity" and act as mediators between the priests and the animals they represent.

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