Zuni Fetish Carvings and Zuni Necklaces

Leekya Deyuse Eagle Shell Necklace

Leekya Deyuse Eagle Shell Necklace


 Leekya Deyuse 3 strand Shell Bird  Necklace

Extremely Rare Leekya Deyuse,  Three Strand, Handmade (with hand files and hand polished… without the use of  electric tools), Assorted Sea Shell, Eagle Necklace

I believe the bird carvings on this necklace are Eagles. In Zuni, Eagles are one of six protective animals. Six very, specific animals, are assigned the task of protecting us from harm. The Eagle, because of its extraorinary eye sight, strength and ability to fly high in the sky, protects us from harm from above.

This necklace and the birds on it are in excellent, like new condition

In my opinion, it was made circa 1940 – 1950

Electricity did not arrive in Zuni till the late 1950’s / 1960’s.

Also, Leekya Deyuse lost the use of one hand later in his life. Leekya, despite the disablity, continued carving larger animals that he could hold in one hand and press against a grinding wheel (this was told to me by his son Francis Leekya (deceased). Carving delicate pieces like these shell birds with hand files, required the use of two hands and production of them ended.

The birds were made from a variety of delicate Sea Shells; including Pink Mussel Shell, Abalone Shell, Conch Shell and Mother of Pearl Shell.

*** Please note: these bird carvings are fragile. The necklace was made to be worn, but care must be taken or birds will break. Leekya Deyuse died in the 1960’s and I don’t know anyone that can duplicate Leekya’s art. Certainly, if a bird was to break we have options… but replacing it with another Leekya bird like this is not one of them.

Leekya Deyuse died in the 1960’s.

There are 40, perfect, unbroken, mint, shell birds on this like new necklace.

The Olive Shell heishe is, of course, also handmade and was worked down to a very fine size. I do not believe Leekya made the heishe. Making heishe by hand is an art form in itself that requires much time, patience, experience and skill. Artistans from Santa Domingo are known for their beautiful heishe and probably Santo Domingo is where this heishe was made.

The Findings (Clasps) are silver and over the years have taken on a beautiful, metallic blue patina

The necklace measures about 26″ long. Each of the 3 strands are slightly different lengths to properly display the birds.











David Tsikewa Triple Strand bird Fetish Necklace

Circa 1940’s / 1950’s

Consider the fetishes of David Tsikewa most collectible… they rarely come to market.
The fetishes that adorn his necklaces are carved with sensitivity and detail… a quality that few carvers achieve.

David Tsikewa was the son in law of Teddy Weahkee and members the family continue to carve in that
Tsikewa style (Kaskalla, Gasper, Leki, Boone)

This rare fetish necklace has a total of 38 beautifully carved birds made out of Turquoise, abalone shell,
Mother of Pearl, and Jet (one jet bird has a chipped beak). It is strung on Olive Shell Heshi with handmade
sterling  silver findings

Total length 28 ”

check out the other fetish necklaces in our collection