Fetish-Mountain Lion TB02
Thursday, April 5, 2012
Texas, United States
This is not collectible.
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Please drop this item in rural or Premium Member Only caches. Do not drop it in an urban cache or leave it behind at a caching event. Transport the bug in the original plastic bag for as long as the bag lasts; this prevents the chain and tag tangling with other items. Otherwise, take this travel bug anywhere you wish. No permission needed to leave the U.S.
About This Item
I have a small collection of animal fetish carvings. This is one of a series of travel bugs showing some of my favorite pieces.
Fetishes are an animals or figures carved from natural materials-- stone, minerals, gems, shell, antler, wood, amber, coral, and probably many more. This one is carved from fossil ivory. Most of mine are quite small, less than two inches in height or length. Most of my collection is from Zuni artisans (New Mexico), but I also have items from carvers in other western states, including Alaska.
The original fetishes were probably some items that just resembled something, a bird maybe, and mystical powers were often ascribed to it. Using primitive tools the distinguishing features were often embellished. Over centuries there became specialists in fetish carving and it eventually grew into an art form. Leekya Deyuse (a Zuni), made jewelry and fetishes in the 1920s and some of his fetish necklaces are now valued at more than $20,000. However, the average cost per piece in my collection is probably around $65. While many still believe in the power of fetishes, in the present time most them are for sale to tourists and collectors. If you doubt this, just go to the shops in Zuni (and elsewhere) and note the mass production using grinding wheels, belt sanders and Dremel tools.
According to Zuni tradition there are guardian animals of the six directions; these were used in kiva rites. The mountain lion is the guardian of the north. Zunis also believe that animals, as well as inanimate objects and the forces of nature, have a spirit force, which can either help or hurt man. It is believed that the carved animal fetishes host that spiritual force and, if treated properly, will help their owners to overcome the problems facing them. The mountain lion represents leadership.
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