This Zuni crane fetish is expertly hand carved entirely from Elk Antler by Zuni artist Ruben Najera. Elk Antler is an extremely difficult material to work with as it is very fragile. It takes a soft touch and hours of patience to achieve work like this.
Birds are very powerful figures in Zuni culture. They represent freedom and travel as well as being a link between humans and the divine. The crane is associated with good luck and longevity.
Ruben Najera is the youngest fetish carver of the Laate clan of carvers. He carves exclusively with Antler and his specialty is birds. He recently carved a series of true-to-life sandhill cranes for a New Mexico wildlife refuge.