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Walrus Ivory Common Loon Carving by Yupik Eskimo Wilson Oozeva AK


Availability: In stock


by Wilson Oozeva of St. Lawrence Island, North Bering Sea

Authentic Alaska Native Eskimo handicraft. It was carved and significantly transformed from old whalebone into Authentic Alaska Native Eskimo handicraft and signed by Alaska Native Eskimo artist Wilson Oozeva.

This beautiful loon was carved from the ivory tusk of a walrus by Wilson Oozeva of Gambell, Alaska, a small Yup'ik Eskimo village of about 700 people on St. Lawrence Island, just south of the Bering Straits. Their native Siberian Yup'ik language is spoken on both the Russian and U.S. sides 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.

Wilson has carved for many years and is a master carver. He carves from ivory tusk of walrus and whalebone and trims them with baleen, a fibrous material from the mouth of Bowhead whales, they strain food through it. His carvings are featured in a book titled Eskimo Carvers of the Bering Sea by Dale Kessler.

Most ivory and whalebone is found washed up on beaches after storms. Carving is a rich tradition on St. Lawrence Island, it helps sustain their ancient and proud culture and way of life in a very remote and harsh area.

Common Loon or "Eghqaaq" in the Siberian Yup'ik language. Wilson carved this beautiful loon from the ivory tusk of a walrus. The center of the tusk is a mottled very light gold color; while the outer portions consists of a cream to white colored ivory, hence the color variations that are apparent on the bottom of the piece. Wilson spent many hours carving, etching and inking the fine details of the feathers and wings.

In the Siberian Yup'ik culture loons were spirit helpers, summoned by the Shaman to bring gifts of the spirit. Loons were carved into amulets and their feathers adorned the clothing of those who summoned the spirits. The presence of a loon during a ritual was a good omen, and a sign of good things to come. Birds were also a source of food, and their eggs came at a time when food was in short supply, early spring.

Wilson Oozeva's signature is carved on the bottom. It measures 6 1/4 inches long, 1 1/2 inches wide and 1 7/8 inches high at the head.

This beautiful Common Loon would be a great item for conversation and display, and a real unusual gift for a collector or an avid birder. This is a very beautiful piece.

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