Vintage Yupik Eskimo carved walrus ivory sea bird
This is a lovely example of Eskimo / Yupik art.
All the Eskimo groups share a common cultural heritage in subsistence hunting of marine mammals and the use of these for both food and many aspects of their material and social culture. Among the animals hunted, walrus are not only used for food but in traditional society their skin was used for the covering of boats and houses, and even their intestine served to make waterproof clothing. But, it is the use of ivory from walrus tusks which has a special place in the culture of many Eskimo groups and has continuity from pre-history to the present day. Among all the Eskimo walrus ivory carvers the Yupik are the most outstanding.
The Yupik are allowed to work the walrus ivory for sale as they have traditionally used the whole of the animal in their culture. The number of animals hunted is strictly controlled and monitored as a subsistence activity.
This is a carving of a marine bird in the typical stylised form found in this culture. It stands just over 11cm tall and 4cm in diameter. It has a lovely patina and is a very tactile item. The individual carving marks are visible on close inspection.