Pendant in the form of a head
There is a long tradition of expert stone sculpture from the Northwest Coast and the area inland and to the south (see Duff, 1975). Dating this material is problematic, since some examples are at least three thousand years old (Borden, 1983), while others were collected by European visitors in the late eighteenth century (King, 1981: pl. 41). This small pendant has no provenance, except a suggestion from the vendor that it comes from the Dalles area on the Columbia River. No precisely comparable carving has been found in the available literature, but it is likely to be from this area and to be many centuries old.
The back is slightly concave and the eyes, brows and nose are smooth and polished. The aperture for the suspension cord has a figure-of-eight form with two holes, both drilled from the front. Such precise drilling must have been difficult, but two suspension holes allow a pendant to lie flat, and this functional and aesthetic requirement probably prompted the extra work. This stone is harder than steatite, the stone most frequently used for sculpture in this area.
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. 287.
Purchased by the Sainsury Centre, University of East Anglia from John Arieta on the advice of Robert Sainsbury in 1982 from the income of the Sainsbury Purchasing Fund.
Title/Description: Pendant in the form of a head
Measurements: h. 35 x w. 25 x d. 7 mm
Accession Number: 839
Historic Period: 18th century or earlier
Credit Line: Purchased with support from Robert and Lisa Sainsbury, 1982