by Mark Nupowhotuk 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 Mark Nupowhotuk.
This stunning Eskimo Hunter Bolo Tie was carved from walrus ivory by Mark Nupowhotuk 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.
Mark 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 either 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 culture and way of life in a very remote and harsh area.
“Uyaqughiitaq“ is the Siberian Yup'ik word for necktie. This very unusual bolo tie was carved from the tusk of a walrus. The center of the walrus tusk is a mottled light gold/cream color, while the outer portions consists of a cream to pure white, hence color variations. The Bolo was carved from the off center mottled portion of the tusk. The front part is cream colored and the back part is from the mottled center of the tusk. It features an Eskimo Hunter in a traditional winter parka. On the ends of the tie are traditional ivory spear points for taking a variety of animals and birds.
This beautiful piece depicts the hunter; or "Ivaghniighta" in the Siberian Yup'ik language. He's dressed in the traditional winter parka. Note the head is protected from the extreme cold by thick protruding fur. In this outfit the hunter could survive for long periods in the extreme cold of the Arctic. The story behind the piece is about 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 and sea. Hunting and gathering were the basis of survival and their culture and continues today. The times of the year offer a variety of hunting. Polar bears in the winter, whales and walrus in the spring and fall, and seals in the summer and fall.
Care of ivory includes avoiding hot dry locations, such as direct sun in a window or a heat register. Remember, our pet dogs, cats and birds also like ivory.
Mark's initials are on the back. The piece is 2 1/4 inches long, 1 3/8 inches wide, and 5/8 inches front to back.
This is a very unique piece which would make a real unique gift. This unique piece would be a wonderful addition to a collection and the subject of many conversations when you are wearing it because it's one of a kind. It's a fine carving by an Eskimo carver in a very remote part of the world.