Lena Boone is famed for maintaining the old style of fetish carving. Instead of minutely realistic detail, the shape of the material dictates the animal.
A large piece of abalone shell, prized for its gorgeous iridescence, is left largely in its natural, highly arched, convex, rounded oval shape.
In this spectacular table fetish, she has carved the head to be unmistakably a bear, leaving the more natural curves of the shell to depict the body and legs.
Bears are the Guardians of the West, for the Zuni, and are considered protectors and healers.
On one side of this large piece of abalone shell, the glorious iridescence shimmers fabulously.
On the other side, the naturally russet shell is interspersed with white dots and is textured with horizontal lines, mimicking the bear’s pelt.
With turquoise eyes, and a medicine bundle of black-lipped mother-of-pearl, red coral, and turquoise, he is ready to point his power in your direction.
Unusually, The shell fetish is attached to a piece of rock that contains lapis.
The mineral-bearing stone has been polished, and the combination of earthy rock and areas of deep blue seems to suggest the river-side habitat of a bear.
Large enough to be noticed, small enough to display with ease, this is a remarkable fetish, by a prominent carver.