Tall, slender and graceful, with a carved jar on her head, this lovely Zuni maiden is not a Corn Maiden, but represents a water carrier.
Water is immensely important to the Zuni, who farm in the high desert and rely on rain to water their crops.
Originally, carrying around a fetish carving like this would help to invoke water, so the crops would thrive.
This lady is carved from one piece of naturally shed deer or elk antler, studded with real turquoise and red coral decorations.
Her eyes are inlaid with black jet, and she is unmarried, as her long, unbound hair, cascading down her back, indicates.
The artist has carved the hair so it becomes a beautiful, textured fall, curving down her back, relating to the equally graceful curve of her enveloping blanket, in the front.
Incised lines suggest the intricate pattern of the blanket, as well as the designs on the “pottery” water jar on her head.
Her gentle stance, bending forward, results from the natural shape of the antler from which she is carved.
Beautiful from every angle, this charming fetish is really a fine, small sculpture.
Elegant in proportion and design, she is decorated with turquoise, coral and jet, and is a lovely reminder of the Zuni connection to nature, and the spirit world.