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Siberian Yupik Eskimo Carver Doll by Beulah Oittilliah, Gambell


Availability: In stock


by Beulah Oittilliah of St. Lawrence Island, North Bering Sea

Authentic Alaska Native Eskimo handicraft. It was carved and significantly transformed from fur seal, whale bone and walrus ivory into Authentic Alaska Native Eskimo handicraft and is signed by Alaska Native Eskimo artist Beulah Oittilliah.

This beautiful Alaskan Eskimo Yup'ik doll was hand made by Beulah Oittilliah of Gambell, Alaska, a small Yup'ik Eskimo village of about 700 people on St. Lawrence Island, just south of the Bering Straits. It's about 140 miles off shore from Nome Alaska, and about 40 miles from Russia. Their native Siberian Yup'ik language is spoken on both the U.S. and Russian sides of the straits. On a clear day (which is rare) you can see the mountains of Siberia.

Beulah has crafted hand made Eskimo dolls for many years and is a master Yup'ik doll maker, an old tradition on the island. Her work is featured in a book titled Ivory Carvers of the Bering Sea. Each doll is unique and one of a kind. The dolls have maintained their uniqueness because of the isolated nature of the island.

This beautiful handmade Eskimo Carver Doll was made from a wide variety of native materials. The face, small whales and hands are ivory from the tusk of a walrus and his hair is Polar Bear Fur. The eyes are inlaid baleen; a fibrous material in the mouth of Bowhead Whales, they strain food through it. The mask is walrus bone trimmed with Polar Bear fur. The Eskimo style rain coat is seal intestine. The trousers, parka trip and mukluks are gray-silver Northern Spotted Fur Seal. The bottom of the mukluks are shaved Fur Seal, you can feel the stubble. The doll is mounted on an Ooziva, a backbone disk from a bowhead whale, equivalent to our backbone disk. Traditionally these were carved into dishes, seal oil lamps and spirit masks.

Much of the ivory and whalebone is found washed up on beaches after storms. Doll making and carving are a rich tradition on St. Lawrence Island; it helps sustain their ancient proud culture and way of life in a very remote and harsh area.

The Carver or “Savighhuq”, which is the Carver in the Siberian Yup’ik Eskimo language. This doll is about the rich tradition of carving in the Siberian Yupik Culture. The Yupik people have lived in the Bering Straits for thousands of years. This harsh Arctic Region of is an extremely challenging area to live in. Yet there is an abundance to be had from the land and sea. Prior to contact with Western cultures carving was for more everyday items and for spiritual purposes. In the early 1800s carving took on an artistic nature for trading with the western sailing ships. Carving is a mainstay of the economy and culture of the Siberian Yup'ik people today. The carver is proudly displaying a Yupik Spirit Mask and two ivory Whales on the base, a Beluga and a Bowhead.

This unique handcrafted doll is one of a kind and would make a very unusual gift. It would be a wonderful addition to a collection and the subject of much conversation. He stands 7 1/2 inches high, and about 4 inches wide and 4 inches front to back.

Beulah's traditional way of signing her signature with a black marker is on the front. This unique handcrafted doll is a real beauty.

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