This ancient comb, Eskimo made from Walrus Ivory, and is probably from the Saint Lawrence Island area of the Bering Strait. It is stained a dark brown and is somewhat surface encrusted with surface corrosion typical of ivory that has been long interred in an organic (peat) matrix while undergoing a long residence in permafrost. This comb is in exceptional condition in that it has retained all six of its original teeth in their full length and sharpness. I can not see any decorative engraving on the comb, suggesting that is be of an age shortly after the end of the Punuk era—after 1500. It certainly is not younger than that, and could be considerably older.
The comb is 5 1/4” long, from the tine tips to the flanged top of the handle. There are two interesting design features. First the flange at the handle top projects as a lip over front and both sides of the handle, but the rear side has not projecting handle. Second, the base of the tine bearing lower part of the body of the comb has a definite bevel to it—something I've not noticed before. The width of the comb above its teeth is 1 1/2” with the 6 teeth being equally spaced over that width. The two outside teeth are the longest, being about 3/4” long. This sort of comb was probably used the the Bering Strait Eskimos to comb out clumps of dried grasses. This grass was used to weave baskets, and especially for making socks to keep the feet dry and warm inside the mukluks worn in the winter. This example is at least 500 years old and is a particularly nice example. Easily Good+