Empress of the Sea
Condition: No condition to be noted.
Description by Artist: No description by artist found.
Notes from DaVic Gallery: Last copy available.
Complete and dramatic representation of Sedna the Goddess of the Sea by Pitaloosie Saila with full body of fish and scales formed in Sedna’s chest and neck. You will see in this collection different interpretations of Sedna that are also accompanied by the legend behind. For your enjoyment, here is another variation of the same story: “Nerrivik had married a bird, a kind of sea gull. They went off together to live on a small island. Every morning, the husband went out hunting. While his wife waited patiently for him to return, she scraped skins with the ulu (an Inuit woman’s all-purpose knife) which would be used for tents. Now and then her parents came to see her. The sea gull had been in the habit of wearing glasses when he came home. His eyes were indeed hideous. But one day he came back without the glasses.
“Have you ever seen my eyes?” he asked his wife, and he laughed. She was intrigued and she looked at him. But when she saw how ugly his eyes were, she burst into tears and couldn’t stop crying. Her parents urged her to flee in a little sealskin boat while the sea gull was out hunting.
“So, one evening they hurriedly left the island. But when the sea gull returned and saw that his wife had left him, he became very angry. He set out after her and soon caught sight of the boat. He quickly reached it and flew so close that he brushed against it. The parents were afraid, and the father decided to throw his daughter into the sea. This was done. No sooner than she was in the water, than she clung to the boat and almost made it tip over. The father then took his heavy, broad knife and chopped her fingers off one by one. Nerrivik tried hard to hold on but slowly slipped down into the water. Her parents were then able to finish their journey in peace.
“After sinking to the bottom of the sea, Nerrivik became the goddess of the waters. It is certain that she answers the prayers only of the great shamans. Only they know how to talk to her, to soothe her, to arrange the bun at the back of her neck properly, and to sweep her house. Her fingers and hands became the sea animals, the seal, the walrus and the whales.”