Bering Strait Inupiak Eskimo Ivory Drag Handle Carved with Two Opposing Polar Bear Heads

An Unusual Bering Strait Inupiak Eskimo Ivory Drag Handle Carved with Two Opposing Polar Bear Heads
The nostrils inlaid with baleen, original seal skin cord
Early 19th Century
SIZE: 8cm long, 3cm dia. (max) – 3 ins long, 1¼ ins dia. (max)
Before a hunter sets out on the Arctic Sea ice he makes sure that his equipment is in proper order, that he is warmly clothed, that he has the correct weapons for that season’s game, and importantly that he is prepared spiritually for encounters with potentially unfriendly spirits. He therefore carries protective fetishes in pouches around his neck or sewn into his clothing, hunting charms to assist him in finding prey and others to guide his weapon. In winter the game is brought home over the ice with the aid of drag handles. These are symbolically shaped as a seal, poplar bear or walrus, and the repetitive use of imagery reinforces the appeasement of the hunted animal’s soul.

Bering Strait Inupiak Eskimo Ivory Drag Handle Carved with Two Opposing Polar Bear Heads

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+44 (0) 207 689 7500

+44 (0)7836 684133
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ENQUIRIES

+44 (0) 207 689 7500

+44 (0)7836 684133
+44 (0)7768 236921

enquiries@finch-and-co.co.uk