and Yupik (Eskimo) Transformation Art
In 2003, a few
weeks after identifying the characteristic and recurring bird-human
in artifact material at 33GU218 in Ohio, this author came upon
the traditional Inuit/Yupik "transformation art" on the
Internet. It was noted with much surprise that this
displays essentially the same
themes in a much more virtuosic presentation.
Some cultural affiliation, however remote, seems unmistak-
able. Shown below are Inuit/Yupik works in specific common
themes, along with lithic artifacts from the 33GU218 site
incorporating the same iconography. Crude as it is in the stones, it is quite recognizable.
__________ Bird or
Other Creature Emerging from Mouth __________
Bird over Forehead ____________________
Bird or Other Creature Emerging from Belly __________
One Eye Open, One Eye Closed ____________
Bird on Top of Bird (or whomever) ______________
By Osuitok Ipeelee
Two-Faced (Janus-like) Figure - Human/Animal _______
sculpture by Tukiki Manome. Note the two faces looking in
opposite directions, a constantly recurring motif in the stone
figures at Day's Knob (33GU218).
So far, one conspicuous theme in the
Day's Knob assemblage that has not (to this author, anyway) shown
itself explicitly in Inuit/Yupik "transformation art" is
that of one creature emerging egg-like from
the posterior of another. This is a bit surprising given its
prominence in much earlier "old world" lithic artifact
material exhibiting the same motifs.
For an excellent
display of traditional Yupik art in the bird-human motif, see
the Arctic Studies Center website at http://www.mnh.si.edu/arctic/features/yupik/index.html.
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