Vintage Zuni Multi Fetish Necklace - George Haloo Chee Chee, Sam & Lita Delena
This item has been shown 17 times.
Vintage Zuni Multi Fetish Necklace - George Haloo Chee Chee, Sam & Lita Delena:
- Three colorful strands of bird fetishes, with one bear at bottom center
- Consists of 28 birds by George Haloo Chee Chee; 22 birds and 1 bear by Sam & Lita Delena
- Fetishes are strung between a combination of brown shell and turquoise heishe
- Size of fetishes ranges from 3/4 inch to 1 inch; most are about 7/8 inch
- Strands are graduated in length from about 25 inches to about 29 inches
- Fetishes are made of red coral, blue-green turquoise, MOP, gold-lip MOP, red abalone, snail and other shells, jet, ricolite and 3 other types of serpentine, and alabaster
- Necklace dates to approximately 1965-70
- Excellent vintage condition, with no broken fetishes that I can see
- Sterling hook-and-eye closure
It also explains why sometimes a single necklace could contain the work of more than one carver. It might be that the trader liked the way the different animals looked together; or it could have had more to do with not having enough fetishes on hand by one carver. Whatever the reason, this practice produced some wonderful "collaborations," and here is one.
It hardly needs to be said that George Haloo Chee Chee was one of the greatest of the 20th-century Zuni fetish carvers (active 1930s-70s; d. 1983). His specialty was birds, and he chose and used his materials in such a way that the finished birds might have a red head or wing patch, or a yellow back and a white breast. He carved with such finesse that often the birds' heads were turned slightly, giving them an alert look. Beaks were delicate and shaped in a fine little point. The final photo above shows the breast of a red abalone bird with a perfectly placed iridescent blue-green patch in the center of the breast--the kind of detail that made George Chee Chee famous. When viewing the greatly magnified photos above, it's worth remembering that most of these tiny carvings are 7/8 inch long!
Like George Chee Chee, Sam and Lita Delena specialized in bird fetishes. They also made excellent use of their materials, especially shell, and their necklaces have a shimmering quality that makes them something special. Often they carved bears, too, and some of their necklaces contain quite a few. Here the bear is a single accent piece in the center of the middle strand.
Though it's hard to see the full impact in the photos, this necklace has a bright, lively feeling. There's plenty of that special shimmer as well, due in about equal parts to the several different kinds of iridescent shells, bright turquoise and coral birds, shiny brown heishe with turquoise accents, and the masterful way these materials were cut and finished.
These three carvers are gone now, but what a legacy of beauty they left behind!
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Who we areCanyon Echoes Gallery is an store that sells excellent Native American jewelry and fetish carvings and strives to provide the same level of customer service. We deal in genuine American Indian goods, including new and vintage/antique items. Most come from either the artists themselves, reservation trading posts, or veteran dealers with impeccable credentials. We hunt for and offer the best quality available in nearly every price range. Informed buyers are the best buyers, so we describe our pieces in detail, provide multiple photos, and invite your questions.
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