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Seal Claw Walrus Ivory Carving by Yupik Eskimo Mark Napowhotak AK


Availability: In stock

"Neghsaq Estuk"

by Mark Napowhotak of St. Lawrence Island, North Bering Sea

It was carved and significantly transformed from marine mammal walrus ivory and seal claw into Authentic Alaska Native Eskimo handicraft and signed by Alaska Native Eskimo artist Mark Napowhotak.

This unusual seal claw is mounted on a seal carved from walrus ivory by Mark Napowhotak 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 Siberian Yup'ik 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.

Mark 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. 
Claw from a Northern Fur Seal or "Neghsaq Estuk" in the Siberian Yup'ik language. This is a fine example of Native Alaskan Yup'ik art. This  seal claw was mounted on a seal carved from walrus ivory. The center of the tusk has a light golden colored rich mottled texture, followed by a smooth cream and lighter cream. The mottled center is visible on the sides of the seal. The eyes are inlaid baleen; a fibrous black material in the mouth of Bowhead Whales, they strain food through it. The claw is from a seal and is mounted on baleen intern mounted on ivory.

In the Yup'ik culture the seal represented the feminine aspect of life and human nature, the gentle and caring, deeply intuitive, a trait that is the foundation for lasting leadership. Seals were hunted for oil, meat and hides. The hides were made into floats and attached to a spear. The Yup'ik hunter would glide silently in their kayak up to “U.ttug” or “seal basking on the ice”. The head of the spear would detach and the seal would be kept afloat with the seal air bag.

Care of ivory and seal claws includes avoiding hot dry locations, such as direct sun in a window or a heat register. Give it an occasional very light coating of baby oil or mineral oil, put it on a cloth first, avoid acid based oil such as lemon oil. Remember, our pet dogs, cats and birds really like ivory and seal claws!

Mark signed his name on the bottom. The piece measures 4 1/2 inches long, 1 7/8 inches wide and 7/8 inches thick. The actual claw is 2 1/2 inches long.

This is a very unusual and unique piece and would surly draw attention and questions, a great gift for someone with an eye for the unusual from one of the most remote areas of the U.S.

Buy it Now!!