In this miniature sculpture (opposite), the carver has achieved an illusion of completeness, despite the fact that only the head and forelegs of the animal, perhaps a bear, are present. It was probably a shaman’s pendant and has a hole through the lug at the back.
Steven Hooper, 1997
Entry taken from Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Collection, Vol. 2: Pacific, African and Native North American Art, edited by Steven Hooper (Yale University Press, 1997) pp. 268-269.
'Empowering Art: Indigenous Creativity and Activism from North America's Northwest Coast', Sainsbury Centre, Norwich, 12/3/23 - 30/7/23
Formerly in the collection of W. O. Oldman.
Purchased by Robert and Lisa Sainsbury from K. J. Hewett in 1964.
Donated to the Sainsbury Centre, University of East Anglia in 1973 as part of the original gift.
Title/Description: Shaman's charm
Born: 1800 - 1900
Materials: Walrus/whale ivory
Measurements: l. 32 x w. 10 x d. 15 mm
Accession Number: 132
Historic Period: 19th century
Cultural Group: Tlingit, Tsimshian
Credit Line: Donated by Robert and Lisa Sainsbury, 1973