JUDAS ULLULAQ (1937-1999), Gjoa Haven / Uqsuqtuuq
signed in syllabics
9 x 9.5 x 3 in — 22.9 x 24.1 x 7.6 cm
The human face or variations of the human face are often associated with shamanism, with a focus on the characteristics of the mouth. Jagged teeth, tattoos and a mouth from which something protrudes are distinctive traits. Even empty O-shaped mouths carry significance; an open mouth is almost always associated with breath, breath represents life, and also carries a person’s spirit. When a person dies, their breath, and therefore their soul, leave their body. A shaman’s breath is believed to have healing powers. If a shaman breathes on the sick, his powerful spirit emerges from his open mouth and restores the ailing victim.
Jean Blodgett, The Coming and Going of the Shaman Eskimo Shamanism and Art, 1978, p. 182
The Pat and Carl Wisoff Collection, Virginia
Images of the North, San Francisco