oval open box, base of wood, sides of bark (?)

Figures, before 1500

Not on Viewexpand_more

Ivory carving is an ancient tradition among the Inuit. Used for a variety of purposes, miniature sculptures express the creativity and innovation of Inuit artists. These two groups of carvings were created for different purposes in opposing areas of the Arctic. The Thule culture, located on the west coast of Alaska, created the set with the birds and caribou primarily for ceremonial purposes around 500 years ago. Many were probably worn as amulets, insuring that the people who owned them would gain the spiritual power of these animals for protection and good health. In some cases, objects would be used to assist the hunters to locate game. A ceremony would be performed where the shaman would toss the figures down until they all faced the same way, which would tell the hunters which direction to go for game.

Accession Number
Curator Approved

This record has been reviewed by our curatorial staff but may be incomplete. These records are frequently revised and enhanced. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email collectionsdata@artsmia.org.

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oval open box, base of wood, sides of bark (?)