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American Indian Fetishes & Totems

One of the most iconic creations of American Indian cultures is that of the totem pole. From monumental installations to smaller scale decorative versions, the totem pole showcases the carving skill and cultural impact of American Indian art. They began as an artistic tradition of the Pacific Northwest tribes as a means of visual story telling.

Each pole was a means to relay a narrative, and its composition, similar to a poem, allowed for the harmonious combination of different characters, including humans and animals. These vibrant characters were typically complemented with rich color and patterning, exhibiting the finesse of American Indian wood carvers in conveying these creatures. While the characters included in a totem’s motif might be recognizable, the full story intended to be shared was only known by the creator, which was then passed down generation by generation.

While totems can refer to universal themes, there is a secret depth imbued in each design that ties back to a family’s or a tribe’s experiences. Even without this insider knowledge, though, totem poles today are recognized universally as brilliant examples of artistry.


Quick Facts

  • Most original totem poles are carved from redwood and, aside from souvenir size versions, range in height from 4 to over 75 feet
  • The colors on authentic totem poles are typically derived from natural sources. Ground minerals added various colors, and they were suspended in an oily mixture conjured from ground salmon eggs
  • The colors as well all hold symbolic connotations. White, for example, can refer to purity or death, while black references power or control

Recommended Items at Auction

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KENT BANTEAH ZUNI PICASSO MARBLE SNAKE FETISH
Dec 03, 9:00 AM MST
KENT BANTEAH ZUNI PICASSO MARBLE SNAKE FETISH
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$357 Bids
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HIRAM PEYNETSA ZUNI JET CORAL VULTURE FETISH
Dec 04, 9:00 AM MST
HIRAM PEYNETSA ZUNI JET CORAL VULTURE FETISH
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$956 Bids
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TYLER QUAM ZUNI PIPESTONE BEAR FETISH
Dec 03, 9:00 AM MST
TYLER QUAM ZUNI PIPESTONE BEAR FETISH
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$306 Bids
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8PC MISCELLANEOUS ZUNI ANIMAL FETISHES
Dec 03, 9:00 AM MST
8PC MISCELLANEOUS ZUNI ANIMAL FETISHES
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$1106 Bids
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5PC ZUNI PICASSO MARBLE BEAR RABBIT FETISHES
Dec 04, 9:00 AM MST
5PC ZUNI PICASSO MARBLE BEAR RABBIT FETISHES
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$456 Bids
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3PC VINTON KALLESTEWA ZUNI LIZARD BEAR DOG FETISHES
Dec 03, 9:00 AM MST
3PC VINTON KALLESTEWA ZUNI LIZARD BEAR DOG FETISHES
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$455 Bids
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2PC AL LASILOO DANETTER LAATE STONE FETISH BEARS
Dec 03, 9:00 AM MST
2PC AL LASILOO DANETTER LAATE STONE FETISH BEARS
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$305 Bids
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3PC ZUNI ARTIST SIGNED EAGLE SCORPION FROG FETISHES
Dec 04, 9:00 AM MST
3PC ZUNI ARTIST SIGNED EAGLE SCORPION FROG FETISHES
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$405 Bids
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TYLER QUAM ZUNI PICASSO MARBLE BEAVER FETISH
Dec 03, 9:00 AM MST
TYLER QUAM ZUNI PICASSO MARBLE BEAVER FETISH
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$255 Bids
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SIGNED NW SOUTHWEST STERLING SILVER OVERLAY BEAR FETISH
Dec 04, 9:00 AM MST
SIGNED NW SOUTHWEST STERLING SILVER OVERLAY BEAR FETISH
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$555 Bids
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HOWARD LESARLLEY ZUNI CARVED ANTLER OWL FETISH
Dec 04, 9:00 AM MST
HOWARD LESARLLEY ZUNI CARVED ANTLER OWL FETISH
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$355 Bids
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3PC ZUNI ARTIST SIGNED CORN MAIDEN FETISHES
Dec 04, 9:00 AM MST
3PC ZUNI ARTIST SIGNED CORN MAIDEN FETISHES
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$655 Bids
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LYNN QUAM ZUNI DOLMITE BUFFALO FETISH
Dec 04, 9:00 AM MST
LYNN QUAM ZUNI DOLMITE BUFFALO FETISH
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$304 Bids
Signed Pat Moore Handcrafted Alaskan Wood Totem
Dec 04, 10:00 AM MST
Signed Pat Moore Handcrafted Alaskan Wood Totem
by Monarch Auction and Estate Services
Est: $0- $0
$404 Bids
Northwest Coast Carved Wood Totem Pole
Dec 03, 11:00 AM EST
Northwest Coast Carved Wood Totem Pole
by Ancient Objects
Est: $800- $2,400
$6503 Bids
2 Child’s Lizard Fetishes
Dec 10, 9:30 AM EST
2 Child’s Lizard Fetishes
by Old Barn Auction
Est: $40- $1,000
$603 Bids
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RANDY LUCIO ZUNI PICASSO MARBLE FROG FETISH
Dec 04, 9:00 AM MST
RANDY LUCIO ZUNI PICASSO MARBLE FROG FETISH
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$102 Bids
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2PC TYLE QUAM ZUNI PIPESTONE BEAR BEAVER FETISHES
Dec 04, 9:00 AM MST
2PC TYLE QUAM ZUNI PIPESTONE BEAR BEAVER FETISHES
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$152 Bids
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ZUNI MARBLE BEAR FETISH
Dec 04, 9:00 AM MST
ZUNI MARBLE BEAR FETISH
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$202 Bids
Early Inuit Mask And N.W. Coast Totem
Dec 03, 11:00 AM EST
Early Inuit Mask And N.W. Coast Totem
by Ancient Objects
Est: $600- $1,800
$4502 Bids
(2) SOUTHWEST STYLE POTTERY BEAR FETISHES
Dec 10, 9:00 AM CST
(2) SOUTHWEST STYLE POTTERY BEAR FETISHES
by Austin Auction Gallery
Est: $60- $150
$500 Bids
GREAT NORTHWEST COAST CARVED TOTEM
Dec 14, 9:00 AM CST
GREAT NORTHWEST COAST CARVED TOTEM
by Jackson's International
Est: $250- $500
$2250 Bids
Carved Wood Totem
Dec 11, 11:00 AM EST
Carved Wood Totem
by Seminole Estate Auction & Liq. LLC
Est: $125- $300
$200 Bids
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Authentic Alaska Craft Wood Carved Totem
Dec 11, 11:00 AM EST
Authentic Alaska Craft Wood Carved Totem
by Gallery 63
Est: $50- $150
$250 Bids

Sellers Who Sell American Indian Fetishes & Totems


Bradford's

Bradford's

Jackson's International

Jackson's International

Maynards Fine Art & Antiques

Maynards Fine Art & Antiques