This maskette is given an Okvik attribution on stylistic grounds, the long oval face, long nose and diminutive mouth all being characteristic features. The head is thin and the back flat, though it has warped slightly. As there appears to be no break at the neck it is probable that it was originally intended to be attached to a costume or other artefact. Small perforations at each side would have been for this purpose. The holes for inlay on the forehead and cheeks may represent tattoos.
Comparisons with the work of Modigliani are immediately brought to mind when considering Okvik heads, although there is no evidence to suggest that the artist ever saw Okvik sculptures.
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. 225.
Purchased by the Sainsbury Centre, University of East Anglia from Jonathan Holstein, New York, on the advice of Robert Sainsbury in 1982 out of funds provided by the Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Art Trust.
Object Type: Mask
Measurements: h. 121 mm
Accession Number: 843
Historic Period: Old Bering Sea I (200 BC-AD 100)
Production Place: Bering Sea, North America, The Americas
Credit Line: Purchased with support from the Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Art Trust, 1982