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A superbly carved human torso with thin arms and stylised hands | Donald Ellis Gallery
Profile view of a rare prehistoric ivory carving of a human torso | Donald Ellis Gallery


Old Bering Sea II
St. Lawrence Island, Alaska

100 - 300 CE

marine mammal ivory

height: 7"

Inventory # E4266

Please contact the gallery for more information.


Francesco Pellizzi, New York, NY
Donald Ellis Gallery, Dundas, ON
Private collection, Connecticut


Anchorage Museum of History and Art, Anchorage, AK, “Ancient Eskimo Ivories of the Bering Strait” July - September 1986
Lowie Museum of Anthropology, Berkeley, CA, “Ancient Eskimo Ivories of the Bering Strait” October 1986 - January 1987
Detroit Institute of the Arts, Detroit, MI, “Ancient Eskimo Ivories of the Bering Strait” January - March 1987
American Museum of Natural History, New York, NY, “Ancient Eskimo Ivories of the Bering Strait October 1987 - January 1988


Ancient Eskimo Ivories of the Bering Strait, Wardwell, New York, Hudson Hills Press, 1986, pg. 66, pl. 61
Donald Ellis Gallery catalogue, 1998, pg. 10

Related Examples

Wardwell, Allen. Ancient Eskimo Ivories of the Bering Strait. New York: Hudson Hills, 1986, pg. 65, pls. 58 and 59 

One of the earliest known cultural phases of the Bering Straight, objects stylistically identified as Old Bering Sea II (100 to 300 CE) principally emerge from the islands in Bering Strait and around the Chukotka Peninsula. This superbly carved torso is one of a small group of stylistically similar figures exhibiting thin arms and hands. Parallels can be drawn to the classic Okvik period (200 BCE - 100 CE) figures of St. Lawrence Island, Alaska. In contrast to the highly abstracted human form found in Okvik art, the surface is treated more plastically, with carefully defined muscle groups clearly distinguishing the chest from the arms, hips, upper and lower legs. The delicately carved hands are rendered in deep relief. This magnificent torso is widely perceived to be the finest extant example.

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