by Archie Slwooko of St. Lawrence Island, North Bering Sea
Authentic Alaska Native Eskimo handicraft. It was carved and significantly transformed from marine mammal whalebone into Authentic Alaska Native Eskimo handicraft and signed by Alaska Native Eskimo artist Archie Slwooko.
This nice Bowhead Whale was carved from a rib bone of a whale by Archie Slwooko 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.
Archie 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.
Bowhead Whale or "Aghveq" - which is Bowhead Whale in the Siberian Yup'ik language. Archie carved this nice Bowhead Whale from an old whale rib bone found in the old village of Gambell. It's a real dense bone and makes an excellent medium for carving. It was buried for centuries and took on a rich patina. The eyes are a double inlay of baleen inlaid in walrus ivory. Baleen is a black fibrous material in the mouth of bowhead whales, they strain food through it. Its designed to either lay flat or be standing, see the photos.
In the Siberian Yup'ik culture the Bowhead whale was the preferred whale as it relatively docile when approached by hunters with spears. It was a source of food, tools and building materials. There are several old whalebone structures in the old village of Gambell still standing. The taking of a whale was a village affair, and was symbolic of the community of sharing. It took the cooperation of many to feed the village. Bowheads spend most of their lives in the Arctic seas. They have a massive bone structure on their heads for breaking through the ice. There are approximately 10,000 to 12,000 Bowhead whales in the North Arctic Ocean, and they produce approximately 350 to 400 calves each year.
Care of bone includes avoiding hot dry areas like direct sun in a window or heat from a heat register. Give it an occasional very light coating of mineral oil or baby oil, put it on a cloth first.
Archie signed his initials on the back. The whale measures 4 1/4 inches long, 1 1/8 inches thick and 1 1/2 inches wide. The whale stands 1 inch high at the head. This is a nice piece with rich texture and color and would be a real nice gift for yourself or someone special. It's carved by a Native carver from a very remote area of the world.
Buy it now!