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Seal Claw Walrus Ivory Necklace by Yupik Eskimo Clyde Rookook


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"Neghsaq Estuk"

by Clyde Rookook 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 Clyde Rookook.

This unusual seal claw is mounted on walrus ivory by Clyde Rookook 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.

Clyde 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 ancient culture and way of life in a very remote and harsh area.

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 carved piece baleen and walrus ivory. The center of the tusk has a light golden colored rich mottled texture, followed by a smooth cream and lighter cream. This piece was carved from the outer cream colored part of the tusk, near the tip of the tusk. The claw is from a seal and is mounted on baleen and 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!

Clyde signed his initials on the side, best seen in reflected light. The piece measures 3 inches long. The actual claw is 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!!