Given “miniature” as a subject … and since, just last week I did a whole series of pictures of tiny carved Native American fetishes, this prompt certainly seems to be begging for more of those pictures. So here they are.

Every piece was hand-carved by an individual. The carvers are all either Navajo, Hopi, or Pueblo … with (I believe) a couple maybe Sioux or Cherokee. I have one carved by a local Wampanaug man who lives on Martha’s Vineyard. He carved it for me and I got to see it emerge from the antler.


I used to have all the paperwork that told me who had carved which piece, when, and where. I lost all the papers. Not just one … the entire packet. Moreover, having bought these from a lot of different places, often directly from the carvers themselves, I can’t reconstruct the trail.

fetishes ram and bear

I don’t, honestly, care about the provenance, except for wishing I could honor the artists by giving them credit for the work. I just love these beautiful pieces.

Mountain lion, wolf, and a lovely stone horse ... and of course, my favorite dancing bear

Mountain lion, wolf, and a lovely stone horse … and of course, my favorite dancing bear

The Corn Maidens are (mostly) much larger than the animal fetishes, but they vary quite a lot in size.

These are all parts of my modest, but lovely collection of modern carved fetishes. Although some (many) are “old-style,” the oldest of these is no more than 20 years. The materials are wood, alabaster, marble, turquoise, antler, and bone.

Each of these animals and the Corn Maidens have meaning in a ritual or religious context, but none of these have been appropriately blessed. I admire the art, but I would never appropriate someone else’s religion and pretend it was mine.

I have been on the other end of that sometimes. It’s annoying. Sometimes, it’s also pretty funny.


Categories: #gallery, #Photography, Arts, Culture

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11 replies

  1. I love your collection. Maybe those papers might turn up when you are looking for something else. One lives in hope


  2. You collection of cool (mostly critter-themed) stuff is so much cooler than mine, and it’s because they’re unique and handcrafted (Whereas most of my stuff was mass produced). The few things I have that were actually made by hand for me are by far my favorites…


    • Hand carvings are always special. I stopped collecting because not only did I run out of money, I also ran out of places to put them that were safe from my pets. I do love having them. But then, I’m an incorrigible collector. Incurable.


  3. I’m going to try your attitude on, about losing all those records. (This is different from adopting your religion though.) I once put tiny white labels on the bottoms of every one of my Cobalt pieces…the age of the piece, any story, the giver, etc.
    Direct sunlight takes over 100 hundred years to fade Cobalt glass. It only takes a couple of months to fade the black ink from a permanent marker, through the glass and all!


    • If I were starting the collection today, I might have scanned the papers and kept them in an electronic file, though I’ve lost plenty of electronic files, too. Maybe the records just aren’t all that important. I suppose, were I trying to sell them, they might be more of an issue … but I doubt these are worth that much. I just love them and find them beautiful. My goal was never to amass treasure.


  4. That’s a lovely collection and thanks for sharing with us, Marilyn.


  5. You have some wonderful pieces in your collection and very original


    • I really love them. I used to search all over the internet — and that was before every place had its own website — to find them. I wanted at least one of everything … but then, I fell in love with the Corn Maidens, so I have quite a lot of them.


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