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Ivory Walrus an Pup by Yupik Eskimo Carver Robert Apatiki, Alaska

$125.00

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"Ayveq" 
 
by Robert Apatiki of St. Lawrence Island, North Bering Sea

Authentic Alaska Native Eskimo handicraft. It was carved and significantly transformed from marine mammal walrus ivory into Authentic Alaska Native Eskimo handicraft and signed by Alaska Native Eskimo artist Robert Apatiki.
 
This very nice walrus and pup was carved from walrus ivory by Robert Apatiki of Gambell, Alaska, a small Siberian Yup'ik Eskimo village of about 700 people on St. Lawrence Island, just south of the Bering Straits. Their language is spoken on both the U.S. and Russian side of the straits. It's about 140 miles off shore from Nome Alaska, and about 40 miles from Russia. On a clear day (which is rare) you can see the mountains of Russia.
 
Robert has carved for many years and is a master carver. He carves from ivory tusks of walrus, walrus bone and whalebone, and trims them with baleen from Bowhead whales.  
Much walrus ivory, walrus bone and whalebone are either dug up or found washed up on beaches after storms. Carving is a rich tradition for the Native Alaskan people on St. Lawrence Island, it helps sustain their proud culture and way of life in a very remote and harsh area.
 
Walrus (Odobenus rosmarus, meaning tooth walker), or "Ayveq" - which is walrus in the Siberian Yup'ik language. This beautiful walrus and pup was carved from an ivory tusk found in the old village of Gambell. The center of the tusk is a rich mottled texture while the outer portions are a smooth cream and pure white color. This walrus is very rich in texture and color. The rich mottled center of the tusk shows well on the top of the piece. The tusks of the walrus are inlaid walrus "whiskers", which are actually the bristle whiskers from the snout of a walrus. Walrus whiskers are sensory organs for finding clams and crabs on the sea floor. The eyes are inlaid baleen, a fibrous black material found in the mouth of Bowhead whales, they strain food through it. It's mounted on a baleen base.
 
In the Siberian Yup'ik culture the walrus was a source of food, tools and material for artwork and trading. The female hides were stretched over driftwood to make their boats called "umiaks". Walrus were generally hunted from "umiaks". Walrus will defend themselves and the herd will come to rescue a hunted walrus. Individual walrus were driven ashore with the aid of a baleen clapper, or flat piece of baleen they would slap the ocean surface with, which sounded like an Orca (Killer Whale), the enemy of the walrus. The walrus would seek land, where the hunters waited. The walrus is considered a bringer of good luck and happiness. A walrus hauled out on the ice is called "nunavak".
 
Care of ivory includes an occasional light coating of baby oil or mineral oil, put it on a cloth or a Q-tip, avoid acid based lemon oil, and avoid hot dry areas of low humidity such as direct sun in a window or a heat register. Remember, our pet dogs, cats and birds really like ivory also!
 
Robert signed the bottom. The large walrus measures 1 7/8 inches long, 1 1/4 inches wide and 1 7/8 inches high including the base.

This a real fine piece, rich in color and texture carved by an Eskimo carver from a very remote area of the world. It would make a great gift from Alaska or a nice addition to a collection.
 
Buy it Now!

 
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