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Walrus Oosik Bone by Yupik Eskimo Carver C B Ooziva Alaska


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by Carson Oozeva Sr. 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 Carson Oozeva Sr.

This stunning oosik bone with a bone walrus was carved by Carson Oozeva Sr. 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.

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 ivory and baleen from 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 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. Carson created 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!). Carson  carved this stunning piece from the “oosik”. He mounted an old walrus bone head of a walrus on one end and carved a Hunter's face on the other. The walrus was carved from partially fossilized walrus jawbone found in the old village of Gambell. It took on a rich tan patina from being buried for centuries. The tusks are inlaid walrus ivory. The eyes of the walrus and hunter are baleen inlaid in ivory. Baleen is a fibrous material in the mouth of Bowhead Whales, they strain food through it. The bone walrus head was first mounted on baleen then mounted on the oosik bone. Carson inlaid ivory and baleen all along the sides of the oosik, giving it a nice effect.

 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 combination of the Walrus and the hunter united by 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!

Carson's signature is on the bottom. The piece measures 22 1/2 inches long (if size means matters) and 1 3/8 to 1 3/4 inches thick, the walrus is 2 inches wide, 3 1/4 inches from the top of the head to the tip of the tusk.

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!