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Walrus Ivory Shaman Spirit Pendant by Robert Tungarian, Alaska


Availability: In stock


by Robert Tungarian of St. Lawrence Island, North Bering Sea

Authentic Alaska Native Eskimo handicraft. It was carved and significantly transformed from walrus ivory into Authentic Alaska Native Eskimo handicraft and signed by Alaska Native Eskimo artist Robert Tungarian.

This beautiful pendant was carved from walrus ivory by Robert Tungarian 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, one of the most remote areas of the U.S. 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 with baleen from Bowhead whales. Much of the walrus ivory, walrus bone and whalebone are 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.

"Tughneghaq" - which is the Shaman's Spirit helper in the Siberian Yup'ik language. Robert is real proud of his carvings, each one is unique. This shaman face was carved from a walrus ivory tusk from the old village of Gambell. You can see the cross section pattern of a tusk in the piece. The eyes are inlaid baleen; a fibrous material in the mouth of Bowhead Whales, they strain food through it.

It features a stylized hunter's face. There is an old story of a Yupik Hunter and his wife were crossing the ice from Siberia and were approached by a Polar Bear and Raven. The man was transformed into a Polar Bear and the woman was transformed into a raven and became the Shaman for the village and the Siberian Yup’ik people. She had great powers of healing, dream interpretation and could drive away evil spirits and gave amulets to hunters to help them. Shamans typically had feminine qualities of dress and long hair, which helped in their intuitive abilities.

Spirit pendants are common in many cultures throughout the world, even our own at Halloween. The pendant is worn in sacred dance ceremonies. Warring the pendant frees the spirit, one can be who they want to be, free to dance, free to summon the spirits. When one sees a person warring a pendant, one no longer sees the person with all their known characteristics. One looks beyond the person and sees the spirit of the person, the ceremony, the freedom of the dance. We see the spirit that was summoned.

Care of ivory includes avoiding a hot location like a sunny window. Remember, our pet dogs, cats and birds also like ivory!

The pendant is 2 inches long, 1/2 inches thick and 7/8 inches wide.

Robert signed back of the piece, he also signed his Yup'ik name, Yughquutq . It would make a great addition to a collection or a real surprise and very unique gift for someone special from a very remote part of the U.S. Could be your Spirit Guide?

Buy it now!