OBS Head

Archives | Alaska

OBS Head

Alaska

Shamanic figure depicting a person with distorted face features

Old Bering Sea I-II
(Archaic Eskimo)
100 B.C. – 300 A.D.

Carved walrus tooth
Height: 1 ¾ in. (4.5 cm)

Ex private collection, Barcelona, Spain

Exhibitions and literature:
“Espíritus del Agua”, La Caixa, Barcelona & Madrid, 1999-2000, illustrated page 66
“Spirits of the Water”, The Menil Collection, Houston, 2000, fig. 22 page 39

Published: Voyages… From the North Pacific to the South Pacific in the wake of Captain Cook, 2019
Sold
This amuletic head, carved in a partially fossilized walrus tusk is the exceedingly rare depiction of a distorted face (the result of a shamanic trance or that of a disease).
This face is redolent of mystery and power.
The style is characteristic of the Old Bering Sea I-II cultures, archaic civilizations of the Arctic which developed on St. Lawrence Island in the southern Bering Strait in Alaska during the first millennium B.C.
A veritable giant in miniature, this hieratic head is reminiscent of the art of Giacometti, Munch or Brancusi.

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