Evenk culture, Yakutia, Northeastern Siberia, Russia,
1800 - 1900 AD
Height : 40 cm
Shamanism probably arose in the Stone Age (possibly during the Paleolithic) and was known to all peoples in the early stages of their history. Like any other historical phenomenon it did not come into being at once, but went through various stages in its development. It has often been declared that originally, in deep antiquity, everyone was able to shamanize. It is believed that the first explorers of Kamchatka in the eighteenth century observed this initial form of shamanism.
This magnificient shamanic headdress and a slightly smaller example, almost identical, were both fabricated in the course of the 19th century by an Evenki shaman from Yakutsk, and intended to be worn by himself during rituals. While most shamanic crowns in museum collections are rather crude in appearance, this example stands out as an exceptionally elegant and sophisticated work of art.
In ancient forest beliefs, the stag’s antlers - like the spreading branches of the Greenwood - reach tall and wide with life force. Here, the metaphore of the rebirth of nature and life takes on another dimension, with the antlers imitating in delicate arabesques the leaves emerging from the ground.