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Fossil Walrus Ivory Swimming Puffin by Eskimo Carver Carson Oozeva


Availability: In stock


by Carson Oozeva 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 Carson Oozeva.

This beautiful Swimming Puffin was carved from an ivory tusk of a walrus by Carson Oozeva 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 Siberia.

Carson 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. Whalebone is 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 rich and proud culture and way of life in a very remote and harsh area.

Swimming Puffin - This fine ivory Swimming Puffin or "Pagrugaq" in the Siberian Yup'ik language was carved from an old ivory tusk of a walrus. The ivory took on a rich tan patina from being buried for centuries. The center of the tusk is a mottled cream color, while the outer portion consists of cream to white colored ivory which pick up different colors from being buried, hence the color variations. The mottled cream color is noticeable around the back and on the underside. The eyes are inlaid baleen, a fibrous material found in the mouth of Bowhead Whales, they strain food through it. This is a fine example of Native Alaskan Yup'ik Art.

Puffins and birds were spirit helpers, summoned by the shamans to bring gifts of the spirit. Frequently puffins were carved from ivory into amulets and adorned those who summoned the spirits. The presence of a bird during a ritual ceremony was considered a good sign. Their brightly colored feathers also adorn clothing and the puffin was also 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. Remember, our pet dogs, cats and birds also like ivory!

Carson signed his initials on the bottom. It measures 1 inch high, 1/2 inch back to front and 1 1/2 inches long. This unique piece would be a wonderful addition to a collection and the subject of many conversations. It's a fine carving, rich in color by an Eskimo carver in a very remote part of the US and would make a great gift to yourself or someone else special.

Buy it now!