you have 0 items in your cart

Walrus Ivory Snowy Owl by Siberian Yupik Eskimo Carver Davis Uglowook


Availability: In stock


by Davis Uglowook 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 Davis Uglowook.

This fine Snowy Owl was carved from the ivory tusk of a walrus by Davis Uglowook of Gambell, Alaska, a small Siberian Yup'ik Eskimo village of about 700 people on St. Lawrence Island, just south of the Bering 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 Siberia. Their native Siberian Yup'ik language is spoken on both sides of the straits.

Davis 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. His carvings are featured in a book titled Eskimo Carvers of the Bering Sea by Dale Kessler.

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

"Anipaghllak" - Which is Snowy Owl in the Siberian Yup'ik language. This beautiful Snowy Owl and chick was carved from an ivory tusk of a walrus. The center of the walrus tusk is a rich mottled light golden/yellow color, while the outer portions consists of a cream to pure white color, hence color variations. The cream color shows on the sides and a touch of pure white also on its sides. The eyes are a double inlay of baleen inlaid in old fossil ivory. Baleen is a fibrous black material found in the mouth of Bowhead Whales, they strain food through it. The beak of the chick is a walrus whisker which is a actually a bristle whiskers from the snout of a walrus.  Walrus whiskers are sensory organs for finding clams and crabs on the sea floor.  There are faint black lines or temperature cracks on the base of the piece. Temperature cracks are caused when the walrus was hauled out in life and sunning on a beach, warming their bodies and tusks in life, then plunging back into the cold Arctic sea. Their tusks develop surface cracks and are stained black by minerals in the sea water, adding to the richness of the carving.

The Snowy Owl is found throughout the northern arctic tundra plains and builds its nest on high frost mounds or any small vantage point. The Snowy Owl is sacred in many northern cultures. It is symbolic of that which comes at night - the dream world, the world of the Shaman, things that are seen by reflected light, moonlight. The owl is considered very wise, wisdom gained through deep thought emanating from dreams and reflection. Owls and birds were spirit helpers, summoned by the shamans to bring gifts of the spirit. The presence of a bird during a ritual ceremony was considered a good sign. Frequently birds were carved from ivory into amulets and adorned those who summoned the spirits. Their brightly colored feathers also adorn clothing and were a source of food in the early spring.

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 or a Q-tip first, avoid acid based oil such as lemon oil. Remember, our pet dogs, cats and birds also like ivory!

Davis signed his initials on the bottom. The piece measures 5 inches high, the larger owl is  7/8 inches wide and 1 7/8 inches front to back.

This unique piece would be a wonderful addition to a collection and the subject of many conversations. Great gift to an avid birder. It's a fine carving by an Eskimo carver in a very remote part of the world.

Don't Wait, Buy it Now!