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Siberian Yupik Eskimo Clan 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 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 Dancing 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 Clan Doll was made from a wide variety of native materials. The faces and hands are ivory from the tusk of a walrus. The eyes are inlaid baleen; a fibrous material in the mouth of Bowhead Whales, they strain food through it. The Eskimo style parka is gray-silver Northern Spotted Fur Seal trimmed with beaver fur. The trim around the childs faces is Sea Otter fur.  The mukluks are tanned seal. 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 Clan or “Ramka”, which is the Eskimo Clan in the Siberian Yup’ik language. This doll is about celebration of abundance and the joy of life and family and raising new generations in the traditions of the Yupik People. 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. The clan would gather to celebrate and share through singing, dancing and drumming.

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. She stands 6 1/4 inches high, and about 4 1/2 inches wide and 4 1/4 inches front to back.

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

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