you have 0 items in your cart

Walrus Ivory Nar Whale by Yupik Eskimo Carver Robert Tungiyan

$120.00

Quantity:
Availability: In stock

"Qungvughaq"

by Robert Tungiyan 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 Robert Tungiyan.

This very nice Nar Whale was carved from a walrus tusk by Robert Tungiyan 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.

Robert 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.

Nar Whale or "Qungvughaq" - which is Nar Whale in the Siberian Yup'ik language. This beautiful Nar Whale was carved from a walrus tusk found in the old village of Gambell. The center of the tusk has a light golden colored rich mottled texture which can be seen on the upper part of the piece and very well on the tail fluke, the outer portions are a smooth cream to pure white. The "Nar" is carved baleen. The eyes and spots on the back are inlaid baleen, a fibrous black material found in the mouth of Bowhead whales, they strain food through it.

The name Nar Whale was derived from the Old Norse word ‘nahvalr’ which meant “corpse-whale”; because it resembled a floating corpse on the ocean surface. The Nar Whale is common in the Greenland and Norwegian Arctic seas, but rare in the Alaskan side of the Arctic Ocean. Because it’s so rare it takes on mythical qualities. Prominent features of the Nar Whale are the spots on its back and its mythical like tusk, which is actually an overgrown off centered tooth. The function of the “Nar” is thought to be an attractant in mating rituals of the whale. It was recently discovered the the narwhal's mysterious spiral tusk works as a giant sensor to help it test water quality and to smooch other narwhals. The whale's eight-foot long tusk has long mystified naturalists and hunters, and the explanation may be equally intriguing. In the Siberian Yup'ik culture the Nar Whale was very sacred. In addition to rarely being seen, the presence of a whale with a unicorn like tusk was thought to be a sign of good things to come.

Care of ivory includes avoiding extremes in temperature change; give it an occasional light coating of baby oil or mineral oil, put it on a cloth or a Q-tip, avoid acid based treatment such as lemon oil, and avoid hot dry areas such as direct sun in a window or a heat register. Remember - dogs, cats and birds also like ivory!

Robert signed his last name on the bottom. The whale measures 3 3/8 inches long, and the "nar" extends 1 7/8 inches for a total length of 5 1/4 inches, 1 5/8 inches wide at the forward fluke and stands 1/2 inch high.

This a real fine piece carved from ivory by an Eskimo carver from a very remote area of the world. It would make a great gift from Alaska or a nice addition to a collection.


Don't Wait, Buy it now!

(#1069)