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Enquiry from Online Galleries regarding "Siberian Arctic Yakut People’s Shamans Ceremonial Iron Mask"
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Look at what I found on the Online Galleries website!
18th Century or Earlier
SIZE: 23.5cm high, 19.5cm wide, approx: 5cm deep
9¼ ins high, 7¾ ins wide, approx: 2 ins deep
CF: University of Gottingen Asch collection exhibition ‘Shamans in the Palaeolithic’ for a similar mask
Neighbouring groups who were unable to smelt iron from ore perceived Yakut smelting skills to be gifts from the spirits. Yakut shamans were regarded as the most powerful in Siberia because of their ability to smith and smelt metal, and over hundreds of years they developed a complex metalworking culture. Amuletic iron figurines were created to act as spirit helpers and as offerings to propitiate the various spirits of the natural world such as those of the ‘sacred cliffs’ and the ‘sacred tree’. Metal was considered a more powerful material than bone or wood. Dressed figurines were sometimes given a miniature iron mask to wear and used as sacrificial offerings.