Harpoon counterweight

North America | Alaska

Harpoon counterweight

Alaska

Winged object
Old Bering Sea II-III culture
Archaic Eskimo

400 – 800 A.D.
Marine ivory
Length: 7 ¼ in. (18.5 cm)

Ex collection Jeffrey R. Myers, New York
Ex Christie’s New York, 6 July 1994, lot 133
Important American Indian Art including Property from the Sadruddin Aga Khan Collection of Eskimo Ivories and Northwest Coast Art
Ex collection Joe Gerena, New York
Ex private collection, Paris

OBS harpoon counterweight 18.5 cm / Galerie Flak Price on request
For Henry B. Collins, author of the first classic study on ancient Old Bering Sea objects, "Prehistoric Art of the Alaskan Eskimo", in 1929, “winged objects were the masterpieces of Eskimo art”.
This ancient Eskimo counterweight, called a “winged object”, was attached to the back of a hunting harpoon in order to ensure its aerodynamic stability in flight. The hunt for marine mammals was essential to survival in the Bering Strait region. Above and beyond their purely functional aspects, these harpoons also had a sacred dimension, which reveals itself here through the finely engraved shamanic designs which cover the surface of this extremely rare sculpture dating 2000 years back.

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