Saturday, June 20, 2015

A primer on Six Directions of Zuni fetishes.

As one becomes fascinated by Zuni fetish carvings, it is almost inevitable that the collector will learn about the six Zuni directions and the carved animals that are associated with them.

So, how did this association come to be?

The spiritual father of all Zuni people, who was responsible for the creation and understanding of Zuni fetishes, determined that the Zuni people ("A Shiwi") were to be protected in areas surrounding their home.

The protector in the North was designated as the mountain lion.

The protector in the South was designated as the badger.

To the West, the bear was appointed as the protector.

In the East, it was the Wolf.

Protector of the upper reaches, was logically the eagle, who could soar for endless periods while maintaining watch over the people.

The responsibility for protection in the netherworld or underground was given to the mole, who burrows through the earth unseen but senses all that threatens underfoot.

The protectors also were associated with specific colors, although that "rule" has been largely superseded by the tendency to carve animals in whatever material of whatever color is available to the Zuni carver at the time.

These protective fetish carvings are considered "healers". Another set of six directional animals is considered the "hunting" set, with two of the six healing animals being replaced by animals recognized for their prowess as hunters. Coyote takes the place of the bear and bobcat replaces the badger. These animals are considered to have special powers as predators, which they transfer to the owner of the carving.

The Six Direction sets of Zuni fetish carvers

Possibly the most impressive single 6 directions carving the writer
has ever encounter. Although, to tell the truth, it is more than one piece.
The separate mole lodges in a depression in the base.

Among the wealth of beautiful and significant Zuni fetish carvings, Six Direction sets stand out. They are created by several Zuni Pueblo carvers, in several different forms.

Jayne Quam, for example, who lives with her Zuni husband and family on the Zuni Pueblo, has created them with larger single animals, usually moles, and smaller animals of the six directions bound to the exterior with sinew. Also included in the sinew often are nuggets of turquoise, coral, shell or heishi beads. Marlo Booqua also builds on a single mole, as has Daisy Natewa.

Daisy and LaVies Natewa have also created six direction sets with the underlying animal being a badger.

On the other hand, some Zuni carvers create six directions sets carved within a single stone.  Wilfred Cheama is noteworthy in this category. Colin Weeka has also carved a single specimen with six animals

Finally, some Zuni and other carvers create six separate free-standing animals of about the same size, of the same or different materials. The antler carvings of Brian Yatsattie stand out, as do the sets of Stewart Quandelacy, Lorandina Scheche, Robert Michael Weahkie and San Felipe carver, Melvin Sandoval.

All of these examples are sourced from the NEW website of Enjoy.

PS: The carving pictured above was done by Jeff Shetima, in onyx with meticulous inlay. It was judged Best of Category at the 2010 Gallup Inter-tribal Arts and Crafts Competition and is now in our personal collection.

Caution: As a collector of Zuni fetish carvings, you probably will become enamored of six direction sets. When that happens, you will start acquiring fetish carvings by the sixes instead of individually.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Easter Will Soon Be Here. How will you celebrate?

Soon, Easter will be here.

The Resurrection of the Christ is celebrated with colored eggs, plastic chicks, chocolate bunnies and more trivia. Something seems to be missing. 

From my perspective, what's missing  is the underlying reason for Easter: 

Recognition of the gift God gave us in the living presence of Jesus.

Here's a more appropriate way to celebrate that blessing:

We are offering all of our Native American Nativities (Nacimientos) 
at 30% off between now and Easter. 

(Yes, Nativities celebrate the arrival of Jesus, not the Resurrection. Without the birth of Christ, however, would there have been a Resurrection? Surely, the life and blessing of Christ is a seamless continuum.)

So, while your mind is on it, why not order a superb Native American pottery Nativity set at 30% less than its regular low price? 

Rather than repeat and reprice everything on the website, we have given you a handful of examples. Visit Native-PotteryLink  and, if you find a Nativity Set not listed here, simply deduct 30% from its listed price and that is what you will pay.

Even better news. You even can order now with our no-fee lay-away plan and pay off the balance in monthly installments so your worshipful pottery Nativity set is delivered in time to be included in your Christmas Decorations.

If you would like more information about Nativities/Nacimientos, this link will take you to an article on the subject in Native People Magazine. The article features Nativity Sets created by Native American artists whose work is not currently in our inventory. The author even includes contact information in the form of galleries other than and some telephone numbers. Please be forewarned that telephone numbers often change and galleries come and go. Nevertheless, we are such avid supporters of Native American artists and especially their Nativity sets that, if our collection doesn't meet your needs, we suggest you buy from some other source rather than go without.

One other thought. The article doesn't mention it, but we were the first people to recommend to Wilson Romero that he consider creating Nativity sets among his carvings. So, if you contact us, we may be able to reach out to any Pueblo or Native American potter or carver with a request for something specific. Mention it to us when you call (1-800-305-0185) and we'll be happy to talk you through details.

Happy Easter and Merry Christmas.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Buying Native American jewelry? Follow these guidelines.

Many people love Native American jewelry, whether it be older, or vintage, items or contemporary work by such meteoric new artists as Colin Coonsis (Zuni).

Other contemporary favorites include Calvin Begay (Navajo),
Artie Yellowhorse (Navajo), 
Rolanda Haloo (Zuni), Michael Kirk (Isleta), Charlene Reano (Kewa), Tommy Jackson (Navajo) and Debra Gasper (Zuni).

Works signed by any of the above artists are fairly sure to be authentic Native American jewelry collectibles. But other jewelry, when acquired directly from the artist or through a reputable dealer may not be signed. This does not per se make them false or fake. It just increases the risk. Solution? Be certain to get a certificate of authenticity from the seller, complete with an address and contact number in case there is a problem. This does not guarantee the piece is authentic Native American, but it does give you a place to turn if the authenticity of the piece is challenged.

Such challenges are not unusual. The Native American jewelry trade is very competitive. Some dealers will do anything to undercut a competing dealer's reputation and credibility. At the same time, there is a moderately heavy traffic in seriously fraudulent jewelry, as made by non-Indians and often as imported from other countries. There has been a reduction in the latter as a result of the Federal Indian Arts and Crafts Act that requires imports to be labeled as to country of origin. Nevertheless, fakers are very ingenious and there is money to be made from naive buyers. 

Years ago, there was a village in the Philippines named "Zuni". Jewelry made there by Philippine nationals, designed to sneak under the radar as Native American, would be labeled "Made in Zuni"  It just wasn't the Zuni in New Mexico, USA.

What to look for? As stated above, a signature or known hallmark is a good indicator of the artist's Native American credentials. Lacking that, ask the seller who the artist was. If the seller does not have a Certificate of Authenticity, at least have him or her write the artist's name legibly on a piece of paper. That gives you documentary evidence of what was claimed to have been sold to you.

Check the descriptions. Hand-made and hand-crafted are not the same thing. The former means made from scratch. The latter can be assembled by a Native from preformed parts. Also beware of terms such as Indian-style, Native-style and Southwestern. These a common dodges that dealers who may also sell higher-end, true Native American jewelry use to disguise that a lesser quality, lower cost item isn't actually made by a Native American.

When looking at materials be sure the silver is marked sterling or .925 unless it is an older piece with its principle value as an "antique".

One does not see much gold these days simply because of its cost. The artist must purchase the gold, requiring a substantial investment. Most Native American artists don't have that kind of money to sit on while they wait for a finished product and a sale.

One of the most commonly used gemstones is turquoise.  There a several grades of turquoise. Describing them is beyond the scope of this article, but sources of this information are available on line. Another popular material is coral, although coral is becoming rare due to the endangered reefs from which is harvested. Some Indian jewelry artists use red shell for the crimson color coral once commonly imparted. It can be a dazzling material, at a fraction of the cost of real coral. 

Other rarer, more expensive materials include lapis lazuli, often abbreviated to "lapis", sugilite, malachite, gaspeite, mother of pearl, jet and opal. Most opal these days is man-made, also known disparagingly as "fauxpal", lab opal or created opal.

Natural gem-quality opal, most of which comes from overseas, is difficult to find, hard to mine and prohibitively expensive for American Indian artists. Fauxpal opal is just as attractive and much more affordable. (For many years, however, authorities would not allow man-made opal to be offered at Native American jewelry sale events. The rules have been relaxed and now most shows only require full disclosure as to the nature of the material.)

Another material sometimes found in Native American jewelry, especially from the Northwest, is fossil ivory. This material was harvest by Pacific artists years, often generations ago. It is not elephant ivory. It comes originally from walrus tusks left over after beasts were taken for food. A problem with fossil ivory, and one reason you won't find it on websites like eBay, is that trade in elephant ivory is discouraged and marine mammal parts may not be exported. 

In summary, Native American jewelry is a fascinating subject made more so by its complexity. If you are looking for that "trophy" piece of Native American jewelry, expect to pay for it. If you find something that looks like the real thing at a bargain price, it probably is not. If you love it anyway, go ahead buy it. After all there is a big market in counterfeit Rolex watches. Just don't be deluded that you have something that is what it pretends to be.

Perhaps most important in assuring you are not cheated is to know your seller. Dealers usually have years of experience and scores of satisfied customers. Check them out online. Look for websites demonstrating English as a first language. Look over their testimonials or referrals. If considering a very expensive piece, ask the dealer if you can check with an existing customer. Any reputable dealer will be happy to help you confirm its reputation and best practices.

In the end, genuine Native American jewelry is such a pleasure to own, it is worth the effort to satisfy yourself before buying.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Share our excitement about improvements in our site

[We have just redesigned our bracelet offerings to include them all on one page.]

In celebration and in keeping with the Thanksgiving season, we are offering a 20% discount and FREE U.S. shipping for the next 4 days. We will close the 20% discount on Sunday, November 30.

If you want to score some authentic, hand-selected Native American jewelry at 20% off the already low internet prices, visit

today or this weekend. Sooner is better since each piece is one-of-a-kind. When sold, it is no longer available.

Something else to think about:

If you use our free, pay-as-you-like layaway plan, you can lock in the discounted price and pay it off over a period that suits you. Either way, just call us at

1-800-305-0185 (toll-free)

and give us your order over the phone. Nothing is more secure and we can confirm on the phone if the jewelry of your desire is still available.

One more thing:

While we are emphasizing bracelets, the 20% discount applies to all Native American jewelry on our entire Native American jewelry website. When you call us, we can tell you what your discounted price will be before you place your order.

Okay. One more thing.

If you don't live in Florida, we do not add sales tax to your purchase. How you handle any applicable non-Florida tax rates is your business.

We wish you a Merry Christmas and a joyous holiday season.  

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Native-PotteryLink Offers More Than 20 New Native American Pottery Nativity Sets For Christmas

Native-PotteryLink has acquired more than 20 Native American pottery Nativity sets depicting and celebrating the birth of Christ.

Online PR News – 10-November-2014 – Fort Myers, Florida – With more and more Christians professing their faith and the approach of Christmas 2014, Native-PotteryLink, the online resource for authentic Native American art and crafts, has acquired a score of new pottery Nativity sets by craftspeople at Jemez Pueblo, Taos Pueblo, Laguna Pueblo, Santo Domingo Pueblo and Santa Clara Pueblo.
These superbly crafted works of Christian art are each made by hand with special reverence and will make a proud addition to any Christian celebration of the Nativity. Each Nativity includes at least pottery representations of the Christ child, Mary & Joseph, More extensive Nativity sets include wise men shepherds, beasts of the field and stable and angels. Some are presented in a kiva setting, illustrating the merger of Native and Western beliefs. Native Americans, especially Pueblo Indians from the Southwest have long been Christians, in addition to their Native beliefs, after exposure to the teachings missionary priests that accompanied the Spanish incursion into what are now California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. Hence so many communities bearing the names of saints.
Orders received before December 1st can be assured of delivery in time for this Christmas season.
William Waites, co-owner of adds, "In addition, at his time, Native-PotteryLInk is offering extended payments with its free layaway plan. Purchasers may place a hold on the Pueblo pottery items of their choice, including Nativity sets and storytellers, with a modest 10% to 20% down payment, followed by monthly payments in amounts determined by the purchaser. There is no fee or interest."Visit Our Site

Monday, November 10, 2014

On the eve of Veterans Day, we salute all US military vets,

On the eve of Veterans Day, we salute all US military vets, but especially the courageous members of the U S Marine Corps. Navajo Code Talkers, the last of which, Chester Nez, died on June 4, 2014 at his home in Albuquerque, NM. He was 93 years old. 

The Navajo Code Talkers, also later known as Wind Talkers, the title of a fictional movie based on their efforts in World War II, were active in every major campaign in the Pacific Theater.

Between their native language, which was unwritten at the time and heavily dependent on tonality for understanding, and cryptology the Navajo Code Talkers developed for use in battle, the messages sent were never broken by the Japanese. As result, the Code Talkers were able to communicate strategy, commands and results from positions in the midst of battle in the matter not of the customary minutes, but in less than 30 seconds.

Navajo Code Talkers were instrumental and critical in the success of Marine and other US military engagements throughout the Pacific. To be clear, while the Navajo Code Talkers in the US Marines while the most celebrated Code Talkers, they were not the only Native Americans engaged in cryptology on the Allies side in wars. Cherokees, Choctaws, Comanches and Meskwakis also participated in WWI and WWII.

The exploits of the Navajos in the Marine Corps in WWII are the best known and deservedly so. The Japanese had broken previous English-based codes, often with success in battles as a result. These brave Native Americans faced remarkable battlefield dangerous to help the United State prevail in the Pacific. All Americans owe them a massive debt of gratitude. As recognized in a special message from the Marine Corps upon the passing of Chester Nez, the last living Navajo Code Talker, "We mourn his passing but honor and celebrate the indomitable spirit and dedication of those Marines who became known as the Navajo code talkers,"

This tradition of heroic service by Native Americans continues today as Zuni Indians, artists and carvers, head off to fight forest fires every year at the height of the fire season in the West.