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Whalebone Ivory Snowy Owl by Melcher Oozevaseuk of Gambell, Alaska


Availability: In stock


by Melcher Oozevaseuk of St. Lawrence Island, North Bering Sea

Authentic Alaska Native Eskimo handicraft. It was carved and significantly transformed from marine mammal old whalebone and baleen and signed by Alaska Native Eskimo artist Melcher Oozevaseuk.

This very nice Snowy Owl was carved from whalebone by Melcher Oozevaseuk 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.

Melcher has carved for many years and is a master carver. He carves from the ivory tusk of a walrus and whalebone and trims them with baleen, a fibrous material from the mouth of Bowhead whales. 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.

Snowy Owl - This beautiful Snowy Owl or "Anipaghllak" in the Siberian Yup'ik language, is a fine example of Alaskan Native art. It was carved from whalebone found on the beach near Apataki Point on the northwest side of the island. It was from the forward fluke bone, like a finger bone. Its wings were etched and carved to show feather patterns. The eyes and beak are inlaid baleen, a fibrous material found in the mouth of Bowhead Whales, they strain food through it.

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 bone 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!

It measures 1 7/8 inches high,1 1/8 inches wide and 1 3/4 inches back to front. This unique piece would certainly catch peoples attention and would be the subject of many questions. It's a fine carving by an Eskimo carver in a very remote part of the world.

Buy it Now!!