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Bear Fetishes: Carvings And Jewelry

Updated on January 31, 2012

Bear fetishes, carvings and jewelry for people who love bears!

I love bears and bear fetishes. As a sculptor and sometime carver, I've particularly drawn to fetishes. Especially bears. Here I'll share my continued research on bear fetishes. I'll introduce you to Zuni and Inuit carvers; the history of fetishes; and links for more fetish "stuff" such as books, jewelry, collectors and dealers in fetishes.

A a sculptor, I sculpt mostly animals - Lions, Fu Dogs and Bears. I'll share with you my bear fetishes, the smallest sculptures I made. Each are individually hand sculpted and have unique finishes. I'll also show you how you can make your own bear fetish necklace with one of my kits. They make great gifts - for you or friends and family.

I hope you enjoy my lens and will let me know what else you'd like to see by leaving comments in the my Guest Book. Bear hugs, Frankie aka Bearmeister

My Blog has been HACKED and is down temporarily so some photos are not loading on this site.

Symbology of the bear

healing, divinity, invulnerability

Symbology of Polar Bear

power, wisdom, peace

History of Fetishes

Where fetishes originated

Teddy Weahkee, Artist

Teddy Weahkee (1890-1965) a very well known and highly collected Zuni fetish carver.

Fetishes Have Been Around

Since 650 A.D.

Used by Indians since pre-Columbian times, fetishes have been found in archeological excavations that resemble certain animals. Fetishes dating back to 650 A.D. have been found in kivas and storage pits protecting food of the ancient Zuni Indians.

A fetish is an object in which a spirit is thought to reside, often in the form of a charm or talisman and believed to possess magical powers that are capable of changing or affecting the course of events for either good or evil.

According to Wikipedia, the concept of a Fetish was coined in 1757 by a man named Charles de Brosses. Found among indigenous peoples around the world, fetishes are inanimate objects that can be made of materials such as bone, pottery, shell, stone, and wood.

Although fairly modern, the practice of making fetish jewelry arose from the desire of non-Native Americans to own "Indian style" items. It is only in the last 80 years that fetishes have been more realistically carved.

This artist creates the more traditional bear fetishes. All beautifully carved and adorned. He is an excellent carver whose work BEARs repeating. ~smile~

Artist: Emery Eriacho

Description: Zuni Fetish carved Bear

Size: 1.5" x 2.5"

To see another view of this wonderful bear fetish, click Emery Eriacho

Purpose Of A Fetish

About Zuni mythology and fetishes

In Zuni mythology, the Guardian of the West is the Bear fetish believed invaluable for one who is faced with change and transition. It can be an ally when attempting to resolve conflict or aid in facing a new challenge in your spiritual path. The Zunis believe that the bear can help us to "step out of our cave" into the sunshine after a long period of hibernation. The bear is known to represent the healing power within every living thing.

It is believed by many that the main purpose of a fetish is to spiritually assist men against any real or even potential problems that can be of the mind, the body or the universe. When a fetish maker prays over a creation that has been ceremonially blessed by a priest or shaman, it is believed that a mystical power is released that will enable him or the owner of the fetish to find a solution to any problems they may have.

Since the fetish has special powers, the owner must care for it and keep it in a special place such as a leather pouch with cornmeal.

I love this wonderfully carve bear fetish. He puts a smile on my face with his pose and stature. He must be the BEAR-er of good news. LOL

Artist: Herbert Him, Zuni

Description: Standing bear carved from turquoise

Size: 2 1/4" x 1 1/2"

To see a 2 more views of this wonderful bear fetish, click Herbert Him

The People Who Create Fetishes And Trade Routes

Southwest Indians, Zuni and Other Tribes

Southwest Indians Indian sculptors in the Southwest carved small stone figurines in animal, human and supernatural shapes. Zuni fetishes weretotemic, featuring inlaid eyes and heart lines while Navajo storytellers strung together fetish necklaces that served as mnemonics for traditional stories. The Hopi carved elaborate kachina dolls from whole cottonwood roots and the Pueblos carved figures from clay and fired them in their pottery kilns.

Additional Tribes

The Iroquois and Cherokee tribes were known for their elaborate wooden masks. The Ojibways carved pipes and ceremonial objects out of a certain type of clay called pipestone and the Algonquians of the east carved staffs and bowls out of tree roots. The Eskimos were known for their ceremonial dance masks made from wood and ivory and soapstone figurines.

Trade Routes

Even in ancient times, with the lively trade routes throughout native North America, American Indian sculpture styles spread beyond a single tribe or culture group, fusing their styles together in many ways.

Zuni carvers

Most of the fetishes created by North American natives however have been created in the southwest by the Zuni Indians, who have become known for their great number and variety of fetishes.

Originally made for hunting, harvest, rain, religious and initiation ceremonies, fetishes are now used for things such as good luck, spiritual guidance, healing, longevity, attracting the opposite sex, fertility, protection from disease and evil, gambling, and nowadays even for decorative purposes.

Meticulous in detail, the Zunis work comes in a variety of styles. These days it is mostly aimed at the tourist or the collector.

Bear Table Fetishes from my collection

Sitting Bear - Septarian Stone

Sitting Bear - Septarian Stone
Sitting Bear - Septarian Stone

Zuni Bear

Zuni Bear
Zuni Bear

Bear Fetish - Picasso Marble

Bear Fetish - Picasso Marble
Bear Fetish - Picasso Marble

Zuni Bear - Septarian Stone

Zuni Bear - Septarian Stone
Zuni Bear - Septarian Stone

Zuni Fetish - Picasso Marble

Zuni Fetish - Picasso Marble
Zuni Fetish - Picasso Marble

Beautiful bear table fetishes on Amazon - Check out these bear fetishes

Bear Fetish Necklaces sculpted by me

Polar Bear Fetish Necklace -- Horsehair Raku

One-Of-A-Kind Sculpted Bears

Polar Bear Fetish Necklace

Horse Hair Finish

I sculpt each bear individually (no molds are used). Then using the special firing technique known as "raku", I took the bear out of the kiln and dropped real horse hair onto the sculpture. As the fire consumes the hair, it twists and turns, producing an embedded one-of-a-kind pattern. After being scrubbed, I waxed and buffed each miniature sculpture. The necklace is reversable because each side of the bear is unique.

The necklace is completed it with a sterling silver clasp and a leather strap.

PLEASE NOTE: Due to the creation process, each bear is unique, varying slightly in shape, size and patterning. Bear size is approximate.

Size: 1" High x 1 3/4" Wide x 3/8" Deep

Price: $37. To order click Sculptures by Frankie - Sculptural Jewelry

Bear Fetish Necklace -- Saggar

One-Of-A-Kind Sculpted Bears

I hand sculpted Each bear then put it into a pot known as a "saggar" in a "raku" kiln. The pot was layered with various materials including: sawdust, vermiculite, salt, and copper carbonate, then covered tightly. The kiln was fired. After cooling, the sculptures are scrubbed, waxed and buffed. The various materials react differently to the heat creating different colors and patterns making each sculpture unique.

The necklace is completed it with a sterling silver clasp and a leather strap.

PLEASE NOTE: Due to the creation process, each bear is unique, varying slightly in shape, size and patterning. The are also reversable since both sides are different. Bear size is approximate.

Size: 1" High x 1 3/4" Wide x 3/8" Deep

Price: $37. To order click Sculptural Jewelry

Make-A-Fetish Necklace Kit

One-Of-A-Kind Sculpted Bears

Each kit contains everything you need to create a unique necklace with a one-of-a-kind miniature polar bear sculpture including detailed instructions.

I sculpted each bear individually (no molds were used). Then using the special firing technique known as "raku", I took the bear out of the kiln and dropped real horse hair onto the sculpture. As the fire consumes the hair, it twists and turns, producing an embedded one-of-a-kind pattern. After being scrubbed, I waxed and buffed each miniature sculpture. The necklace is reversable because each side of the bear is unique.

When you purchase this necklace kit, you will also receive a $10 gift certificate toward the purchase of any sculptural item from Sculptures by Frankie. Redemption instructions are on the gift certificate enclosed in the package.

PLEASE NOTE: Due to the creation process, each bear is unique, varying slightly in shape, size and patterning. Bear size is approximate.

Size: 1" High x 1 3/4" Wide x 3/8" Deep

Price: $33 (includes shipping). To order click Sculptures by Frankie - Sculptural Jewelry

Make-A-Fetish Necklace Kit - Saggar Finish

One-Of-A-Kind Sculpted Bears

Each kit contains everything you need to create a unique necklace with this one-of-a-kind miniature polar bear sculpture.

I hand sculpted Each bear then put it into a pot known as a "saggar" in a "raku" kiln. The pot was layered with various materials including: sawdust, vermiculite, salt, and copper carbonate, then covered tightly. The kiln was fired. After cooling, the sculptures are scrubbed, waxed and buffed. The various materials react differently to the heat creating different colors and patterns making each sculpture unique.

When you purchase this necklace kit, you will also receive a $10 gift certificate toward the purchase of any sculptural item from Sculptures by Frankie. Redemption instructions are on the enclosed gift certificate.

PLEASE NOTE: Due to the creation process, each bear is unique, varying slightly in shape, size and patterning. The are also reversable since both sides are different. Bear size is approximate.

Size: 1" High x 1 3/4" Wide x 3/8" Deep

Price: $33 (includes shipping). To order click Sculptures by Frankie - Sculptural Jewelry

This lens supports Wildlife S.O.S.

All royalties raised on this lens are donated to Wildlife S.O.S. for their "India Bear Rescue" Project.

You can help save the bears by making your TAX EXEMPT donation to Save the bears

The Zuni Book of Fetishes - Zuni Fetish resource

The Fetish Carvers of Zuni
The Fetish Carvers of Zuni

This is a great resource for anyone interested in Zuni Fetishes and for collectors.

 

Zuni Fetish Books on Amazon - Great books on Zuni Fetishes

Inuit Fetish Books on Amazon - Great books on Inuit Fetishes

Great Inuit Art Books - Learn more about Inuit Art

Celebrating Inuit Art
Celebrating Inuit Art

Lavishly illustrated with over a hundred color reproductions, this new paperback edition is an impressive photographic tribute to an art form that is regularly featured in major art exhibitions worldwide. Born out of economic necessity, Inuit art has captured the imagination of art lovers since 1948, when it was first exhibited. Celebrating Inuit Art showcases sculpture from the period when Canadian Inuit abandoned their nomadic lifestyle to settle in small villages across the Arctic. During this tumultuous time, in a society threatened with acculturation, art played a critical social role, preserving and expressing the culture's rich oral history.

 
Celebrating Inuit Art 1948-1970
Celebrating Inuit Art 1948-1970

Lavishly illustrated with more than 100 color photographs, Celebrating Inuit Art 1948-1970 is an impressive tribute to an art form that was virtually unknown fifty years ago and is now regularly featured in major art exhibitions worldwide. The works of art in this book are organized by geographic area, to illustrate the strong regional styles of this unique art form. In Nunavik, narrative is emphasized, whereas the works of Baffin artists stress the beauty of the richly textured local stone. In Keewatin, the sculptures look pre-historic yet modern, while the work of the Kitikmeot is distinguished by its shamanic whalebone carvings. Quotes, reminiscences and historic snapshots provide introductions to individual Northern communities. In a major and invaluable essay, James Houston, a tireless and passionate champion and respected authority on Inuit art, recounts his experiences and observations of fifty years with the Inuit people. The stunning photos, taken by Museum photographer Harry Foster, illustrate major pieces from the Canadian Museum of Civilization as well as treasures from James Houston's personal collection.

 
Inuit Art
Inuit Art

Although the Inuit have lived in the Artic since prehistoric times, Inuit art as we know it only came about in the late 1940s. This contemporary art form is appreciated around the world for its power and exquisite beauty, an art that embodies the Inuit's harsh artic environment, unique way of life, and traditional beliefs. This historical, cultural, and aesthetic exploration of Inuit art features examples of Inuit drawings, prints, textiles, and sculpture through 125 color photos, 35 black-and-white photos, and maps.

 
Arctic Spirit: The Albrecht Collection of Inuit Art at the Heard Museum
Arctic Spirit: The Albrecht Collection of Inuit Art at the Heard Museum

Covering prehistoric to contemporary works of cultures from Siberia to the Bering Strait, Arctic Spirit is based on one of the world's most important collections of Inuit art. Organized by major themes — the land, the animals, the supernatural — the book showcases sculptures, prints and drawings, and textiles. Highlighting Canadian Inuit works but also including such rarities as ancient Alaskan ivories as well as contemporary Greenlandic tupilaks, Arctic Spirit features extensive commentaries, historical background, and artist interviews in a multifaceted homage to some unique cultures and their art.

 
Inuit Art: A History
Inuit Art: A History

Inuit—sometimes referred to as Eskimo—art is the primary art form of Canada and has a large international following, particularly in the United States, Japan, and Germany. Despite its popularity, the complete history of Inuit art has never been presented. This is the first chronological synthesis of Inuit art, following its development from prehistory, through early American and European exploration, to the recognition of Inuit art as a commercial possibility, and up to the present. There is a particular emphasis on contemporary art and artists, and the years 1950 through 1997 are each given separate, detailed treatment in regard to important shows and events. This history is appropriate both for the beginning admirer of Inuit art and for those already well immersed in it.

 
The Harry Winrob Collection of Inuit Art
The Harry Winrob Collection of Inuit Art

The Winrob Collection contains one of the most significant assemblages of Inuit sculpture created from bone, antler and whalebone, which due to declining availability, makes such sculptures quite rare. The collection is also notable for its wealth of innovative sculpture from the Nunavik communities of Puvirnituq, Inukjuak, and Kangiqsualujjuaq. Among the artists are Nick Sikkuark and Karoo Ashevat. Magnificently illustrated with 145 illustrations, many in color.

 
Rankin Inlet Ceramics: Inuit Art
Rankin Inlet Ceramics: Inuit Art

Rankin Inlet was created in the 1950s as the first Acrtic mining operation employing indigenous, and previously nomadic, people. The mine's eventual closing resulted in significant social strife, including the death of a once thriving artistic community. The 1990s has seen a rebirth of work by younger graphic artists and sculptors the medium of clay.

 
Inuit Art: An Anthology
Inuit Art: An Anthology

From the first magical amulets and weapons to the world–famous Cape Dorset prints, Inuit art is discussed by authorities such as Sheila Butler (Wall Hangings from Baker Lake, First Printmaking Year at Baker Lake), Charlotte and Edward Lindgren (The Pangnirtung Tapestries), and Jean Blodgett (The Historic Period in Canadian Eskimo Art). For the newcomer, a solid introduction to Inuit art; for collectors and researchers, a gathering of expert knowledge in one volume.

 
Inuit Women Artists
Inuit Women Artists

The tiny Canadian hamlet of Cape Dorset, just south of the Arctic Circle, has been known since the late 1950s as the capital of Inuit art, thanks to the community’s many talented artists. Here, 12 female artists and writers reflect on a way of life that is now threatened. Each has a story to tell — of growing up female in a harsh environment, of adapting to new cultures and learning the nuances of familiar ways, of learning new art forms through which to portray the best, and worst, of their extraordinary lives. Interwoven with vivid images of a unique culture and a stern landscape are the women’s thoughtful comments on their creative inspirations. Each speaks her concerns with energy, channelling her passions through art that is at once subtle and bold, delicate in detail yet forceful. Two hundred illustrations, over 50 in full color, depict the artists’ striking graphics, sculpture, and jewelry.

 

More lenses about Bears

Save Our Bears (SOB) Headquarters

Bear headquarters

Member of Save Our Bears Headquarters -- a group of lenses devoted to help change the plight all of the 8 bear species through awareness and fund raising.

The lenses show the wonderful nature of bears and many will, at the same time, shine a spotlight on the dangers bears face including: trophy hunters, gall bladder and bile farming, pollution, bear baiting, global warming, and habitat destruction.

You'll also find fun lenses on great polar bear movies, books, teddy bears, even cartoon and toy bears.

Click Save Our Bears (SOB) to go to the headquarters page.

1st Place Winner in the

Home for the Holidays Lens Contest, 2008.

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Bear Fetishes - Carvings and Jewelry

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Copyright 2008-2012 Frankie Kangas All rights reserved.

Please use this guest book to share your thoughts about fetishes and this lens. Thank you.

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    • FanfrelucheHubs profile image

      Nathalie Roy 5 years ago from France (Canadian expat)

      Those Bear Fetishes are amazing! I love them all ! Blessed

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      This bear carving are awesome. This is not just an simple carving, we can learn a lot of lesson when mastering carving, Just like the rule in carving holds good as to criticism; never cut with a knife what you can cut with a spoon. :)

      Just in case your readers might also be interested in dating feel free to visit our site.

    • jptanabe profile image

      Jennifer P Tanabe 6 years ago from Red Hook, NY

      Beautiful bear carvings! Blessed by a SquidAngel on the Back to School Bus Trip.

    • Mayapearl profile image

      Mayapearl 6 years ago

      What great bear carvings! Thank you for a geat lens!

    • Laniann profile image

      Laniann 6 years ago

      All the bear fetishes are beautiful and your bear fetish necklaces are wonderful. I enjoyed reading your lens. Blessed by a Squid Angel.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      What wonderful treasures you are displaying here, beautifully done!

    • Sami4u LM profile image

      Sami4u LM 6 years ago

      Hi,

      A sprinkling of Angel Dust for Christmas :)

    • Feydakin LM profile image

      Feydakin LM 6 years ago

      I love Native American art. After living in the SouthWest for nearly 10 years it's one of the things that sticks with me as I find myself living up north. Excellent work on your art.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      This is beautiful bear art! I hope it rises to the top 100 :)

    • missbat profile image

      missbat 7 years ago

      Some very beautiful carvings, as well as great information!

    • Ramkitten2000 profile image

      Deb Kingsbury 7 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

      Honestly, I didn't know this definition of a "fetish" ... just the OTHER one. :) Now, I know! Very interesting lens, and I love the sculptures.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Lovely Lens I really enjoyed Reading it , 5 stars.

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 8 years ago

      Ah, I see that I had already visited you precious lens and bestowed my best ratings -- remarkable job on this lens -- I really love what you've done with it!

    • chefkeem profile image

      Achim Thiemermann 8 years ago from Austin, Texas

      Wonderful sculptures, much friendlier than their "live" counterparts outside my AK lodge! We have to consider, of course, that we are the ones who disturb their peace on their territory. Respectful coexistence is the key.

      5*s and a SquidAngel Blessing for your inspiring page, Frankie! :)

    • profile image

      ThomasC 8 years ago

      Nice lenswork. I have only two encounters with bears in my life, and they were both in zoos! I like your selection of modules! Great job on this lens. Rated and blessed!

      ThomasC

    • thepartyanimal2 profile image

      thepartyanimal2 8 years ago

      Yahoo you are a winner in The Squidoo Home for The Holidays Lens Contest So Go Grab your badge.

    • profile image

      topstuff 8 years ago

      what a great lens and i love bears, 5 stars

    • Paula Atwell profile image

      Paula Atwell 8 years ago from Cleveland, OH

      Super lens. Learned a lot.

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 8 years ago from Southampton, UK

      Not just the bear facts (groan) but a whole lot more. I thought a fetish was, well, something else (blush)... Very nice lens, and in a good cause too. 5***** well deserved.

    • Wendy L Henderson profile image

      Wendy Henderson 8 years ago from PA

      Very nice lens. I never heard of bear fetishes. I'm glad I stopped by. ~Wendy

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 8 years ago

      Herbert Him is a talented artist. Great job on the lens. Wasn't familiar with bear fetishes yet.

    • VBright profile image

      VBright 8 years ago

      Excellent lens! I work with the Sioux, and have had some beautiful alabaster carvings of bears

    • Stazjia profile image

      Carol Fisher 8 years ago from Warminster, Wiltshire, UK

      Another great lens about bears. I've tagfooted both of them. Welcome to the Art & Design Group.

    • ZenandChic profile image

      Patricia 8 years ago

      This is a cool lens on bears. I love the pix you used. Bears are very cool animals as well as powerful

    • profile image

      antiaging-skin-care 9 years ago

      I had no idea there was such history in these beautiful objects. Thanks for the lesson.

    • profile image

      CherylStoney 9 years ago

      I love the kits you have put together - I will pass this site on to others!

    • profile image

      jerryswrite 9 years ago

      Thanks for the education on fetishes - they could make great gifts. I'll remember this site at Xmas!

    • profile image

      Janet1 9 years ago

      Good job on the lens. Such beautiful pieces.

    • profile image

      Oran-Kangas 9 years ago

      Another good lens!