Origin: Zuni, Teddy Kucate
Date: Late 19th to Early 20th Century
Media: Stone, turquoise, sinew
Dimensions: 3.25″ long, 1.4″ tall
Description: This fetish may be a badger, or a squirrel or a beaver, or? The surface shows good wear. The turquoise wrapped around the body is likely a later addition. It’s felt that this fetish is an earlier piece that may have been converted to a tourist fetish for sale. The animal has lots of character with a very broad mouth and piercing blue eyes. The tail is a major attribute as well.
Update as of Nov. 14, 2021 – it has been suggested that this fetish is by the carver Teddy Kucate, the earliest Zuni carvers of tourist pieces starting in the 1920s. As I researched this further, I found this likely to be true. If this is the case, then the value of $1400 is highly under valued and I’m keeping the price as is.
Provenance: This single fetish was acquired along with 14 others, all from the Tres Compadres Ranch of the McMahon family of Houston, TX. Patricia Bennett McMahon (1929-2017) and her sister had one of the early art galleries in Santa Fe, NM.