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Enquiry from Online Galleries regarding "Alaskan Iupiak Eskimo Whalebone Scraper ‘Urugan’"
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Look at what I found on the Online Galleries website!
Early 19th Century
SIZE: 42cm long, 10.5cm wide (max) – 16½ ins long, 4 ins wide (max)
Ex Private collection
From May to November the white whales frequent the sand bars and shores of Norton Sound and the mouths of the Yukon and Kuskokwin rivers. They pursued the abundant tomcod fish in the tidal creeks and marshy estuaries until the ice would freeze the streams over. In the 19th century they could be heard regularly every night hissing and blowing in the streams as they hunted for fish. When they were encountered in large numbers they would be surrounded, driven into shallow water and killed.
The blubber of the white whale is clear and white and considered superior to seal by the Eskimo. Their intestines were made into waterproof garments or floats and the sinews were highly prized. The scraped skin was made into strong lines or durable boot soles. When well cooked the half-inch thick soft epidermis is considered choice eating with a pleasant flavour recalling that of chestnuts.