Anthropomorphic figure, Okvik culture, Old... - Lot 11 - Binoche et Giquello

Lot 11
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Estimation :
20000 - 30000 EUR
Anthropomorphic figure, Okvik culture, Old... - Lot 11 - Binoche et Giquello
Anthropomorphic figure, Okvik culture, Old Bering Sea I,
St Lawrence Island, Bering Strait, Alaska
Archaic Eskimo, 100 BC - 250 A.D.
Marine ivory
H. 13.5 cm - W. 3.5 cm
Okvik anthropomorphic figure, Old Bering Sea I,
St Lawrence Island, Bering Strait, Alaska
H. 5 ¼ in - W. 1 3/8 in
Provenance:
- Former private collection, France
Large Okvik "idol" with stylized features.
This hieratic fossilized ivory figure is an evocative testimony to archaic Eskimo art. This work is part of the limited corpus of large carved figures from the Okvik culture (Old Bering Sea I) that originated and developed on St. Lawrence Island (Sivuqaq) south of the Bering Strait over 2000 years ago.
This figure is a miniature giant.
In northern cultures, carved human figures are generally considered to be spiritual assistants or guides to protect against physical or supernatural dangers in the environment and to ensure the survival of the group.
The literature on the subject suggests other possible ritual uses (healing, fertility or protection of the home, transmission of knowledge).
According to accounts collected on the island of Saint-Laurent, the cradle of the Okvik culture, guardian spirits communicated with humans during dreams or trances and indicated the ceremonies to be planned in order to avoid illness, ensure the success of hunting expeditions and the abundance of food. The Siberian Chukchi believed that guardian spirits could come to life by incarnating themselves in carved human or animal figures.
The amount of ethnographic data collected on the subject and the care and refinement of the ivory figures collected suggest that these carvings played a protean and complex role in the archaic cultures of the Bering Strait.
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