Carl Etstate made this beautifully intricate olla corn maiden from deer antler. She has inlaid jet and turquoise eyes and an catlinite mouth. The olla (pot) on her head has crushed turquoise on the top, and her straight bangs are below. She has five turquoise dots inlaid under her head and turquoise, catlinite, and jet dots on the front. On the back, her hair flows from the pot to her feet. More about corn maidens and olla maidens below.
Size: 3" H x .5" Diameter
Female corn beings represent all that is good about being a woman: loving, generous, nurturing, kind, strong with great compassion. In tribes that traditionally grow corn, most of the stories are the similar. There are many Indigenous stories about how corn was brought to the people at a time when there was hunger, and how a sacred, sometimes other worldly, female being brought them corn. In Zuni Pueblo, there are three ages of female corn beings: the maiden who wears her hair in the traditional buns on each side, the mother who has one or more babies, and the elder grandmother who wears her shawl over her head. There are dances to honor the female corn beings in many of the Pueblos. And in other tribes, she is held in a place of great honor.
Zuni olla maidens are women who dance with fragile water jars, or ollas, balanced on the top of their heads. These women play an important role in Zuni, acting as cultural ambassadors for the community portraying and preserving cultural traditions for future generations. Zuni Olla Maidens sing songs of their own composition in their language, as well as those written by male community members. They dance with drums, rattles, and instruments that sound like frogs.
Traditionally, Zuni carvings are symbolically fed cornmeal. Each Zuni fetish comes in a box with a descriptive card and a tiny bit of corn meal to tide them over until they reach you.