Lot: 42


Russia, Siberia, Evenki

Provenance Size Starting price / estimated price
Old Anthropologist Collection
Jeffrey Myers, New York, USA
D: 2.4 inch 2000 EUR / 3000 EUR

metal (white tin/copper/brass), old collection label "Eskimo Siberia HW21 19/6/21", base

A simple, hammered dot decoration is recognisable along the edge. The human facial features are highly simplified. It is possible that the plaque was originally conceived as a plain pendant which was modified. The reuse of metal for the manufacture of all kinds of shamanic equipment was a common practice among the Evenks.

In terms of size, it could be categorised as an idol mask (up to 8 cm). They served as facial covers for wooden figures that contained the soul of a deceased person or assisting spirit. The figures were dressed and attached to the robes of shamans (cf. Ron Bronckers, 2021, p. 73).

However, the plaque could also have been used in the cult of the dead. Bronckers refers to the tradition of placing silver plaques on the eyes of the dead instead of death masks.

Ron Bronckers, "Masks of the Evenki and Magyar - New Connections", p. 79, fig. 13, in Tribal XXV:3-Number 100, Summer 2021, p. 72-81 Margolis, Richard, Ancient Bronze Art and Ethnographic Objects from Siberia and the Urals, Seattle 2023