you have 0 items in your cart

Walrus Bone Ivory Bear, Moose, Musk Ox, Caribou by James Aningayou


Availability: In stock


by James Aningayou of St. Lawrence Island, North Bering Sea

Authentic Alaska Native Eskimo handicraft. It was carved and significantly transformed from marine mammal walrus jawbone and ivory into Authentic Alaska Native Eskimo handicraft and signed by Alaska Native Eskimo artist James Aningayou.

This very unusual piece was carved from the lower jawbone of a walrus by James Aningayou 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.

James 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. His carvings are featured in a book titled "Eskimo Carvers of the Bering Sea. 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 and ancient culture and way of life in a very remote and harsh area.

The Dream - This stunning piece called "The Dream" or "Qavanguq" in the Siberian Yup'ik language, is a great example of Alaskan Native art. It was carved from a partially fossilized lower jawbone of a walrus found in the old village of Gambell. It took on a rich tan patina from being buried for centuries. The lower jawbone is a very dense bone that lends well to carving. It features a Brown Bear with a salmon, a Moose, a Musk Ox, a Caribou and a Snowy Owl. The eyes of the Brown Bear and nose are inlaid baleen, a fibrous material found in the mouth of Bowhead Whales, they strain food through it. The salmon, antlers and horn are walrus ivory.

The story behind the piece is about the dream of the hunt and the abundance of the land and sea to provide for food, clothing and shelter. The Siberian Yup'ik people have lived in the Bering Straits for thousands of years. This harsh Arctic region is an extremely challenging area to live in, yet there is an abundance to be had from the land. Hunting and gathering was the basis of survival and their culture and continues today. Eskimo stories and myths are full of stories of the hunt.

Care of jawbone 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 or a q-tip to work it into the skin patterns; avoid acid based oil such as lemon oil. Remember, our pet dogs, cats and birds also like bone and ivory carvings!

James signed his last name on the bottom. It stands 9 3/4 inches high; the bone is 1 1/2 inches front to back and 2 to 3 inches wide.

This is a stunning piece and would make a great addition to a collection or a very unique gift for a hunter or someone with an eye for something really unusual from one of the most remote areas of the U.S. More photos available on request.

It's a great piece, Buy it now!