Item ESK10 - Northwest Alaska Eskimo Walrus Ivory Block

This sturdy block functioned as a connector for two lines (most likely made of  Barbed Seal or Walrus hide) used by Eskimos whaling from umiaks in the Bering Strait or Beaufort Sea region of northern Alaska. It is constructed of a single piece of Walrus ivory that is 4 ¼” x 1 1/4” x 3/4” thick. The line holes are somewhat elongated suggesting that they were gouged, rather than drilled. This block is decorated on one side between the line holes with a pair transverse parallel lines having projecting spurs or short triangles. This is in the style of older “Punuk” decoration that was commonly done 500 years or so ago, and continued by modern Eskios. This block, however, does not a have any of the dark staining typical of Punuk artifacts that have suffered burial in permafrost. The holes are quite well worn (as are the outer edges) suggesting that this item was well used—most likely in the capture of Bowhead whales. It is an unusual item and is a Fine collectible.  One side of the block shows the "crysstallized oatmeal" of the Walrus tusk's pith and certifies that this Walrus ivory.  Fine

Price - $95.00

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