Pete Gasper, Sr. (1938 - ) and Dinah Gasper (1944 - )

Pete and Dinah Gasper are credited with being the first carvers at Zuni to inlay their fetishes with heartlines. Another innovation they developed is a method of signing fetishes that involves inlaying a small circle of silver on each piece that bears their hallmark.

Pete and Dinah carve fetishes in the traditional style for which Dinah's family has become known. Dinah Gasper is the daughter of Edna Leki and the granddaughter of Teddy Weahkee. Like her mother, Dinah assisted Weahkee with his fetish carving. As a teenager, Dinah helped by drilling shells and assembling fetish bundles.

Pete originally studied painting at the Santa Fe Indian School in the mid-1950s under the tutelage of Geronima Cruz Montoya. After meeting Dinah and returning to Zuni, he applied his artistic skills to jewelry and fetish carving and eventually taught silversmithing at the Zuni Craftsmen Cooperative Association.

At one time, Pete and Dinah carved mostly water creatures (frogs, turtles, tadpoles, fish, etc.), but they have also produced a wider range of animals, including wolves and bears. They are known for their highly detailed fetish necklaces, some produced in rare materials such as amber or fossilized ivory. They have been the recipients of numerous first place awards at the Santa Fe Indian Market and the Gallup Intertribal Ceremonial.

Pete and Dinah's daughter, Debra Gasper, and their sons Braden (deceased), Elroy, and Peter, Jr., have carried on the family tradition of fetish carving.

Peter & Dinah Gasper
Fossilized ivory, shell
28.5 in. long, carvings: .84 in.
KMA 2007.51.01
Directional Hunting Set
Lena Boone, Rosalie Lunasee, Pete and Dinah Gasper
Alabaster, Marble, Mother-of-pearl, coral, turquoise, Chrysoparse, serpentine, flourite, variscite, sugilite, pipestone, Zuni stone,
Various Dimensions
KMA 2007.43.01

Bassman, Theda. Zuni Jewelry. West Chester, Pa.: Schiffer Publishing, Ltd., 1992, p. 20-21.
Bell, Barbara. Zuni, The Art and the People v. 2. Grants, N.Mex.: Squaw Bell Traders, 1975, p. 34-35.
Finkelstein, Harold. Zuni Fetish Carvings. Decatur, Ga.: South West Connection, 1994, p. 21.
McManis, Kent. A Guide to Zuni Fetishes and Carvings. Tucson, Ariz.: Treasure Chest Books, 1995, p. 10, 16, 36.
McManis, Kent. Zuni Fetishes & Carvings, one-volume, expanded edition. Tucson: Rio Nuevo Publishers, 2004, p. 12, 19, 78, 79.
McManis, Kent and Laurie. Zuni Fetish Carvers of the 1970s: A Bridge from Past to Present. Santa Fe: Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian, 2006, p. 66, 22.