Snow beater(?)

CULTURE:
Eskimo
DATE:
c. 1875
more object details

General Description

To tribal people, magic is a way of dealing with the uncontrollable elements of life, like sickness and death. The shaman is a figure of power and authority—an intermediary between human life and the Unknown. The shaman's ritual equipment was invested with the mysterious suggestiveness that found objects, such as oddly shaped stones or bones, have for the human mind. The twisted curve of this caribou antler, which was used as a shaman's staff, is made to suggest both the spirit of the animal (in the delightful animal head) and the shape of a shaman's magic bow. The extreme, pure simplicity of form is typical of Eskimo bone carving.

Excerpt from

Anne R. Bromberg, Dallas Museum of Art: Selected Works (Dallas, TX: Dallas Museum of Art, 1983), 48.