Saturday, June 25, 2016

What is a Zuni Six Direction Set?

Native American Fetish carving is a pains-taking, dirty, difficult and demanding activity, often taken for granted by the excellence of the outcome.

From the detail of carvers such as Brian Yatsattie and Wilfred Cheama to the abstraction of Melvin Sandoval and Lynn Quam to the natural inspiration of Salvador Romero and Wilson Romero, there is much to love and be awed by.

In the pantheon of fetish carvers, a special place is held by those who carve Six Direction sets 
Award Winning six directions carving in onyx by Jeff Shetima

These Six Directions sets capture the spirit of ancient Zuni belief of six creatures that were charged by the Creator with protection of the Zuni people from threats from the North, West, East, South, above and below.

The mountain lion in the North, the bear in the West, the badger in the south, the wolf in the East., the eagle above and the mole below. Each as selected for the innate power, strength and cunning as percieved by the Zuni people.

They mayu be presented by a carver in several ways. Some carvers chooseto presnet all six in a single carving (with the mole occasionally included as a seperate carvind lodge in the underside to the stone specimen.). Another format uses a single large creature with five smaller creatures secured to the larger carving with sinew or wax string. A third approach is to carve each protective animal as a single creature and gather the six as a set.

Each carver has a different artistic vision reflected in a different stylistic approach. Perhaps it is the seriousness of the subject matter but a six direction set seems never to be taken on as anything but the highest calling of the carver.

Collectors of Six Direction sets like to build menageries that show a breadth of approachees. Examples of the best are available for previewing at

In the interest of broadening awareness and the appeal of Six Direction carvings, the website is offering a special sale price of 30% off the regular listed price through July, 2016,.