Shamanic scraper

North America | Alaska

Shamanic scraper

Alaska

Old Bering Sea II-III culture
Archaic Eskimo

200-500 A.D.
Walrus tooth
Height: 19 cm – 6 ¾ in.

Provenance
Excavated from the old site at Gambel, St Lawrence Island, Alaska in 1984
Ex collection Merlys Hollis Pinsof & Jerald A. Goldfarb, Morgantown, West Virginia
Ex Sotheby’s New York, 15 Nov. 1988, lot 192
Ex collection Amy & Elliot Lawrence, New York

Publication
“Ancient Eskimo Ivories of the Bering Strait”, A. Wardwell, Hudson Hills Press, New York, p. 93
“Trésors du nouveau monde”, Musées Royaux d’Art et d’Histoire, Brussels, p. 102, fig. 8

Exhibition
“Ancient Eskimo Ivories of the Bering Strait”, 1986-1988 :
The Anchorage Museum of History and Art
The Lowie Museum of Anthropology, Berkeley
The Detroit Institute of Arts
The American Museum of Natural History, New York
“Trésors du nouveau monde”, 1992 :
Musée du Cinquantenaire, Musées royaux d’art et d’histoire, Brussels

Published: FAB Paris, 2023
OBS III Scraper 19 cm / Galerie Flak Price on request
Throughout history, the successive human groups inhabiting the Bering Strait region (Old Bering Sea cultures, Ipiutaq, Punuk, Thule, ...) have reoccupied the same hunting grounds every summer for over 2,000 years. The objects they used are now being rediscovered, buried in the ice-cold permafrost.
In the archaic cultures of Alaska, hunting tools and gear were often adorned with powerful shamanic motifs. Scrapers were used in the preparation of skins to make garments, notably parkas. The scraper presented here stands out for its quality of sculpture and its evocative power.

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