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Fish Charm (Wai-ka-shi-ta)

Arts of the Americas

Turquoise first appears in the archeological record of the southwestern United States in the 500s C.E. The stone, which gained popularity among the Ancient Puebloan people of Chaco Canyon by the early 900s C.E., was primarily used in ceremonial and funerary offerings and for personal adornment. For the Zuni, descendants of the Ancient Puebloans, turquoise holds a place of paramount importance: a stone popular among the gods. Charms such as these represent in a physical form the power of the animal or object in whose likeness they are carved.
MEDIUM Shell, turquoise, resin
DATES 19th century
DIMENSIONS 1/4 × 2 3/4 × 11/16 in. (0.6 × 7 cm)
COLLECTIONS Arts of the Americas
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CREDIT LINE Museum Expedition 1903, Museum Collection Fund
CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION This small piece of shell in the shape of a curved fish or moon phase has been inlaid with resinous material and turquoise.
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