I thought he was a stone fetish

I picked this little guy up at an estate sale today. I initially thought he was a carved stone fetish. He seemed a bit odd, but when I removed his tag from off his feet I saw that he was signed. I thought what the heck, I kinda like him, so I brought him home. I was hoping my $10 dollars would not be wasted and that he was native made. After some searching and no luck with stone fetishes, I googled black bear with turquoise eyes and came across a very similar bear. Turns out my bear is ceramic. It seems he is a Juan Tafoya bear from San Ildefonso Pueblo. Yay!
He is tiny so would he be considered a fetish if he is made out of pottery?


@chris Congrats on your cute find! Size has little to do with whether something is or isn’t a fetish (by which most people mean a Zuni fetish, with the largest number of carvers). A fetish is deliberately carved as a fetish, not coincidentally similar in look. It’s intended to symbolize, embody, or conjure the power of animal spirits. The idea is that fetish making involves skills of hand-carving, not pottery making.

If you want to see the tiniest fetishes of extraordinary quality, check out the mini-frogs by Ricky Laahty.


Thank you for explaining that! I wasn’t quite sure about what the term actually meant.

Those frogs are amazing!

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