Human figure

Archives | Alaska

Human figure

Alaska

An exceptionally large female figure
Okvik, Old Bering Sea I culture
Archaic Eskimo
St. Laurent Island (Sivuqaq), Alaska

Marine ivory
250 BC – 100 AD
Height: 6 ¼ in. (15.9 cm)

Provenance :
Ex collection Perry J. Lewis, U.S.A.

Exhibited & et published:
“ Espíritus del Agua”, Fundación La Caixa, Madrid & Barcelona, 1999 – 2000, plate 2, page 76

Sold
This hieratic figure in fossilized ivory constitutes an extremely rare, archetypal example of archaic Eskimo art. It belongs to the very small corpus of the great classic art of the Okvik culture (Old Bering Sea I) which was born and developed on St. Lawrence Island at the southern part of the Bering Strait more than 2,000 years ago.
Okvik figures in marine ivory were used during ceremonies linked to fertility as well as for ensuring successful hunting expeditions.
Objects used to transmit knowledge and as aides for shamanic practices, these sculptures constituted a privileged channel for communicating with the invisible world of the spirits.
This human figure is characterized by the purity and elongation of its lines. The treatment of the face recalls in a vivid way the work of certain 20th century artists, such as Amedeo Modigliani or Constantin Brancusi.

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