It is a very powerful and spiritual piece! This humanoid face carved from soapstone represents one of a Northwest coast shamans Guardian Spirits. It would have been carefully designed and crafted by a shaman, as only shaman would have possessed such a Spirit apparition. Ordinary tribal members who encountered such fierce spirits would die and not be able to return unharmed to the world of the living.
Death is symbolized in this Spirit carving by the elongated, upturned, and half-closed eye. The Spirits left eye is represented by a deep, long, vertical mark that extends from his eyebrow to his china possible representation of a tear. The long, vertical, scar-like markings on the right side of his face also indicate the spirit now lives in the spirit world. The long distorted and twisted facial expression served as permeant reminders of this departed soul existence.
Shaman are acutely aware that their power had be repeatedly demonstrated through successful cures, magic acts, and other hunting or spiritual rituals. The more spirit helpers an individual shaman has, the stronger the likelihood he will be successful in these tests. This stone Spirit Guide/Helper would have sat near the shaman as he traveled to the spirit world for guidance and assistance.Since the shamans hands were the agents through which supernatural powers emanated from, these Spirit stone helps could not touch his body while the shaman was in a possessed state. The partially blackened front and reverse sides of this stone Spirit figure suggests that it was placed near an open fire as he shaman traveled to and from the spirit world in a trance-like state on astral journeys.
Without these Spirit helpers to ground and Shaman and guide him safely back to earth, his soul would be lost in spirit world foreverthe Shaman would die! Such Spirit figures might also have been placed as guardians of the sacred fires in the ceremonial long houses, or displayed with other shamanic paraphernalia near to a secret, partitioned chamber where the shaman made his preparations to travel to the spiritual world. These stone Spirit Guides would have remained part of a Shamans ritual paraphernalia for his entire life. The stone Spirit was also believed to have magical powers of their own, which was increased each time the shaman made a successful astral journey that was aided by the Spirit. Minor erosion scratches, abrasions and partial fire blackening are evident, and one can smell the distinctive odor of smoke.The carving has maintained its integrity and is in museum quality condition with a wonderful patina. There are no signs of any repairs or restorations. The small nature of the piece strongly suggests it was a portable Spirit Guide totem used by only one shaman in his various ceremonial/spiritual rituals. I recently acquired it from a private collector in Colorado. This statue will be accompanied by my Certificate of Authenticity at no additional charge.
Shamanism in North America, N orman Bancroft Hunt, 2002. By the Editors of Time Life, 1992, pgs. Spirit Faces: Contemporary Masks of the Northwest Coast.Understanding Northwest Coast Art: A Guide to Crests, Beings and Symbols. Each object I sell is professionally researched and compared with similar objects in the collections of the finest museums in the world. When in doubt, I have worked with dozens of subject matter experts to determine the condition and authenticity of numerous antiquities and antiques. All sales are Final, unless I have seriously misrepresented this item! Member of the Authentic Artifact Collectors Association (AACA) & the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA).
The item "X-RARE Pacific Northwest Coast Antique Shaman Indian Spirit Guide Carving! AACA" is in sale since Friday, March 10, 2017. This item is in the category "Collectibles\Cultures & Ethnicities\Native American\ US\1800-1934\Other Nat.
The seller is "houghton-usa" and is located in Sequim, Washington. This item can be shipped to United States, to Canada, to United Kingdom.