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Walrus Oosik Bone by Siberian Yupik Eskimo Carver Mark Kul, Ak


Availability: In stock


by Mark Kulowy of St. Lawrence Island, North Bering Sea

Authentic Alaska Native Eskimo handicraft. It was carved and significantly transformed from marine mammal walrus oosik bone and ivory into Authentic Alaska Native Eskimo handicraft and signed by Alaska Native Eskimo artist Mark Kulowy.

This unusual oosik bone was carved by Mark Kulowy 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, one of the most remote areas of the U.S. 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 ivory and baleen from Bowhead whales. Much ivory and 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.

"Agleghnaq" which is "revered object" in the Siberian Yup'ik language. Mark carved this very unusual carving from an "oosik" bone of a male walrus. An “Oosik” is a baculum (penis bone) found in many mammals such as Pine Martins, deer, Sea Lions, otters, black bear and walrus. The walrus oosik is the largest and can be over 2 feet in length (if size matters!). He mounted an old walrus ivory cap on one end and old fossil ivory on the other. The end caps were first mounted on baleen then mounted on the oosik bone.

 In the Siberian Yup'ik culture the walrus was considered a sacred animal and also source of food, tools and material for artwork and trading. The female hides were stretched over driftwood to make their boats called "umiaks". In the old days walrus were generally hunted from "umiaks". Walrus will defend themselves and the herd will come to rescue a hunted walrus. Individual walrus were driven ashore with the aid of a baleen clapper, or flat piece of baleen they would slap the ocean surface with, which sounded like an Orca (Killer Whale), the enemy of the walrus. The walrus would seek land, where the hunters waited. The walrus is considered a bringer of good luck and happiness.

The oosik was considered sacred and resulted in the "Agleghnaq" or sacred object. A bringing together of the good luck and happiness of the walrus and the hunter.

Care of walrus bone and ivory includes avoiding hot dry areas like direct sun in a window or a heat register. Give it an occasional very light coating of mineral oil or baby oil, put it on a cloth first or a Q-tip. Remember, our pet dogs, cats and birds really like bone and ivory also!

Mark's initials are on the bottom near the slim end. The piece measures 14 inches long (if size matters) and 1 1/4 to 1 1/8 inches thick at the center.

It's a very unusual and unique piece, and would be a real out of the ordinary gift for yourself or someone special. It's carved by a Native carver from a very remote area of the world. How many people do you know with an Oosik!

Buy it Now!