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Walrus Ivory Beluga Whale Siberian Yupik Carver Quentin Oseuk, AK


Availability: In stock


by Quentin Oseuk of St. Lawrence Island, North Bering Sea

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

This nice Beluga Whale was carved from an ivory tusk of a walrus by Quentin Oseuk 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 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. One of the most remote areas of the U.S.

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

"Puugzaq" which is Beluga Whale in the Siberian Yup'ik language. Quentin carved this very nice Beluga Whale from an old ivory tusk of a walrus found in the old village of Gambell. The center of the tusk has a light golden colored rich mottled texture while the outer portions are a smooth cream and pure white. The mottled center can be seen on the tip of the snout and it runs through the body. There are color differences on the back of the piece. from being buried for centuries. The eyes are inlaid baleen; a fibrous black material in the mouth of Bowhead Whales, they strain food through it. It's mounted on an ivory base with a baleen pin.

Beluga’s are found in the coastal areas of Alaska, not generally open ocean whales. They are very gregarious and travel in large pods. They feed on salmon and frequently become stranded at low tide. They have adapted and simply wait for the next incoming tide. The beluga or white whale represents the feminine side of human nature, the gentile and caring, deeply intuitive, a trait that is the foundation for lasting leadership.

Care of ivory and baleen 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, avoid an acid based oil such as lemon oil. Remember, our pet dogs, cats and birds also like ivory!

Quentin signed his name is on the bottom. The ivory piece measures a shade less than 2 1/4 inches long, it's a shade over 1/2 inch wide at the forward flippers and one inch high. This is a very nice piece and would make a nice gift for someone interested in whales.

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