Origin: Teddy Weahkee, Zuni
Date: First half of the 20th C.
Media: Stone, turquoise, shell
Dimensions: 1.1″ long
Description: This tiny bear is made of a white stone (which appears to be like white jade) and its body has been covered with pinon pitch in the old style of adding pigment to these fetishes. This pitch has worn off and shows up only in the crevices. There is sinew wrapped around the belly holding a small arrowhead. There are a couple small feathers and a bit of what appears to be bear fur tucked into the sinew. This all comes forward and hides the top of the bears head. The ears are clearly denoted, but the eyes and mouth are not there, only implied.
These figures were made for tourist trade, and are some of the earlier items made during that period that bridged the authentic objects used for tribal rituals and then those sold to tourists. While this is a tourist object, it is an early example of that transition period.
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.