Ancient Ipiutak, pre-historic Inuit marine Ivory toggle

Ancient Ipiutak, pre-historic Inuit marine Ivory toggle

100 to 600 Bering Sea

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Ancient Ipiutak, pre-history Inuit marine Ivory toggle
100-600 AD

Size : 5 cm high x 3 cm deep
Provenance : Ex Ruth and Marc Franklin collection
The ancient Inuit or Eskimo cultures of the Bering Strait derived their subsistence from the hunting of sea mammals including the whale, but most importantly, the walrus. The large supply of game in the the Bering Strait area enabled them to improve and develop their hunting methods, weapons and implements and gave them the leisure to decorate innumerable objects with engraved ornament or carved figures.
This art is unique in the world and the many objects that were decorated with fine linear engraved designs have no known antecedants in the artic.
Despite archaeological work in Siberia, St Lawarence and the Alaskan mainland the exact origin of the Old Bering sea culture is still much debated, and the true origins of Ipiutak culture are not known.
Certain artistic characteristics of the Ipiutak link them to the Asian mainland. The Sino-Siberian animal style is reflected in some of the sculptures, and their composite burial masks are similar to those found found in bronze and jade in graves at Anyang the Shang capital in Northern China. Some say that the Ipiutak were a transplanted Asian culture that settled at Point Hope on the coast of North West Alaska spreading to other areas in the same period that the Old Bering sea culture flourished in Siberia and St Lawrence Island.
With the exception of certain aspects of harpoon technolgy Ipiutak art is the richest and most sophisticated among the creations of the pre-historic Inuit or Eskimo. There is more variety of form and a greater sense of the fantastic in animal and bird scupltures than is found in Old Bering sea art, and this is ably demonstrated in this well carved example of Ipiutak art.
Height 5.00 cm (1.97 inches)
Depth 3.00 cm (1.18 inches)
Marine Ivory
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