Native American Stone Fetish Carvings – Six Directions

Native American Stone Fetish Carvings

Six Directions

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The Zuni define their world in terms of directions with their home and village and its inhabitants at the center of the world. Therefore, they have six directions, the four cardinal directions (North, South, East West) and the Upper and Lower Dimensions.

Zuni Six Directions Animal Fetish carvings

Zuni Six Directions Animal Fetish carvings

Each region has its own guardian and often fetishes representing the six directions are placed in the home as a group or set.

Zuni Jet Mountain Lion Fetish Carving by Fabian Pino

Zuni Jet Mountain Lion Fetish Carving by Fabian Pino

The mountain lion represents the North.
Zuni Wolf Fetish Carving by Terrence and Jessica Martza

Zuni Wolf Fetish Carving by Terrence and Jessica Martza

The wolf represents the East.
Zuni Badger Fetish Carving by Adrian Cachini

Zuni Badger Fetish Carving by Adrian Cachini

The badger represents the South.

Zuni Bear Fetish Carving by Emery Eriacho

Zuni Bear Fetish Carving by Emery Eriacho

The bear represents the West.

Zuni Mole Fetish Carving by Ephran Chavez

Zuni Mole Fetish Carving by Ephran Chavez

The mole represents the Lower Dimension or the Earth.

Navajo Eagle Fetish Carving by David Yazzie

Navajo Eagle Fetish Carving by David Yazzie

The eagle represents the Upper Dimension or the Sky.

Some Zuni artists carve all six fetishes out of one piece of stone – this is a very rare Six Directions set.

Another approach is to carve one fetish, say the badger, larger and then to tie the other five fetishes, carved in a smaller scale, to the badger.

A more common group is a display of the six fetishes, all in the same scale, on a natural setting such as one made with rocks and wood.

Various animals represent certain powers.

  • Mountain Lion – Leadership, Protection for Travelers and Success for Hunters
  • Bear – Soul Strength, Power from Within, Introspection, Healing
  • Badger – Aggressiveness, Perseverance
  • Wolf – Teacher, Pathfinder, Clarity, Survival
  • Eagle – Spirit, Vision, Truth, a link to the Great Spirit
  • Mole – The Protector of the Underworld and Crops, Awareness, Introspection

For more information

Zuni Stone Fetish Carving Native American

Zuni Stone Fetish Carving Native American

6 thoughts on “Native American Stone Fetish Carvings – Six Directions

  1. Good morning and thank you for asking.

    The ZSDA fragment appeared in the email version of this post but not on the actual post on the blog. That’s because the automatic formatting of the blog post into an email sometimes gets strange with photos and their captions.
    In this case the photo moved over on top of the caption. The complete caption was
    Zuni Six Directions Animal Fetish carvings

    so you saw the first letter of the first four words peeking out of the left side of the photo.

    Thanks for the question.

  2. To broach a very sensitive subject: I thought that the symbol, know to many as the swastika, was used by native Americans to denote the four directions. Can you shed any light on this?

  3. Yes, a very similar symbol appears in Native American sand paintings and other ceremonial uses. It is the Whirling Logs. I will write a post on this, lest this info gets lost in a comment…….so please stay tuned for more on Whirling Logs in a post with some illustrations. Thank you for the intriguing question.

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