Crouching Mountain Lion
Together, this couple carves traditional fetishes in a simple, abstract style, close to the origins of fetishes: when stones whose natural shapes resembled an animal, were used.
Clayton is especially noted for his impeccable inlay work, as seen in the turquoise eyes and heart line on this fetish. Heartlines indicate the seat of the animal’s power.
This turquoise inlay is so beautifully achieved, that, if you touch it without looking, you won’t know there is anything inlaid in the glassy, smooth stone.
Mountain lions are the Protective and Hunting Animal of the North, for the Zuni.
As ferocious hunters, near the top of the food chain, the fetishes are considered essential aids to hunters of large game (buffalo, mountain sheep, elk, etc.)
For the same reason, they are also used as protection and aid in warfare, and protection for travelers.
In fetishes, mountain lions are usually portrayed in tan, gold, or yellowish stone, as here.
The yellow calcite stone is not only similar to the natural hue of the mountain lion, but it also has a lovely translucent quality, which adapts well to the notion of a supernatural being.
A classic, traditional-but-modern carving of this very important fetish animal; beautiful, as well as authentic.