FETISHISM (from fetish, Fr. fetiche, from Port. feitiro, artificial, from Lat. facticias, made by art, from facere, to make: the term was originally applied by Portuguese pioneers in western Africa to artifacts adored by the natives and supposed by them to possess magical po tency). A form of belief and fiducial practice in which supernatural attributes are imputed to material objects. especially objects of artificial character; the practice includes sorcery, thanma turgy, or magic, with various attendant eere monies and minor observances. The fetish is usually a figure modeled or carved from clay, stone. wood, or other material in imitation of some deified animal or other object; frequently it consists of fur, feathers, hair, bone, or tooth of a tutelary animal; sometimes it is the animal it self, or some tree, rock, river, or place associated with the tutelary in the mind of the' devotee; and in certain cases the belief is so definitely crystallized about the object itself that the cus tomary connection with the tutelary eludes de tection—when the belief may be said to grade into idolatry. First noted by Portuguese trav elers in Africa, it is now recognized that fetish ism is by no means confined to western Africa, but prevails among the primitive peoples of all lands; also that the belief represents a fairly definite stage in the development of Uncial notions and practices. Tylor justly limited fe
tishism to the doctrine of potencies (or spirits) at tached to. or conveying influence through, mate rial objects, in contradistinction from animism, which he defined as the doctrine of spirits in gen eral, and also indicated the way in which fetish ism grades into idolatry. Briefly, fetishism usu ally arises in the primordial belief called by Powell `hecastotheism,' and accompanies the suc ceeding stage of zoetheism, to die out in the idolatry preceding the development of spiritu alized faiths. Significant vestiges of the early belief persisted among the ancient Greeks, who reverenced trees and sacred places; the Romans, who cast clods of native earth on the site of the sacred city; the Druids of England, who adored oak and mistletoe: the early Germans and Celts with faith in fairies, and many ether peo ples. See MAN, SCIENCE OF; SOPIIIOLOGY.