We take great pleasure in bringing this intriguing work by Ruth Kirk back into print. It has been forty-five years since these articles were originally published in El Palacio, Journal of the Museum of New Mexico.
The literature on the special talismans of the Zuni Indians has never been extensive. The lack of information on these articles has plagued the student and the collector with a continuing ignorance. This work studies twenty-five different pieces which were collected by the Laboratory of Anthropology and thoroughly documented. Classified into ten categories from hunting fetishes - the most common both today and in the past - to witchcraft and punishment fetishes, the study of these fetishes brings an expanded understanding to the examination of this aspect of Zuni religion and ceremonialism.
The author describes the homes of the fetishes, those pottery jars where the fetishes feed and reside. These most sacred vessels are described using interview notes from anonymous members of the Pueblo whose narratives provide significant insight into the lives and minds of the Zuni people.