This mask is a simpler form of the ‘forked-eye’ mask (object 842) but is probably contemporary with it. There is no engraving or mouth, but the nose is shown as a long flat ridge. Shell masks appear in burial contexts late in the Mississippian period, but beads have been found in a wide number of sites spanning the entire period.
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) p. 288.
Note in the Sainsbury Centre archives suggesting the object was removed from a burial site at Holliston Mills, Hawkins County, northeast Tennessee, by Elmer Austin of the Tennessee Archaeological Society in 1968.
Purchased by the Sainsbury Centre, University of East Anglia from Jonathan Holstein, New York, on the advice of Robert Sainsbury in 1981 out of income from the Sainsbury Purchasing Fund.
Not on display
Object Type: Mask
Measurements: h. 187 x w. 135 x d. 50 mm
Accession Number: 791a
Historic Period: Mississippian (c. 1300-1600)
Credit Line: Purchased with support from Robert and Lisa Sainsbury, 1981