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Enquiry from Online Galleries regarding "Arctic Bering Sea Yupik Eskimo Carved Walrus Ivory Drill Shaft or Wedge"
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Look at what I found on the Online Galleries website!
Late 18th Century – Early 19th Century
Size: 52cm wide – 20½ ins wide
Wedges are used for making wood splints and for separating blocks of snow, but this may also have been used as a drill shaft with a hide strap that had handles on either end to rotate the shaft. The drill shaft is used by the Eskimo peoples south of Norton Sound to make holes or create a combustible level of heat for a fire. The peoples north of Norton Sound traditionally use a bow drill, for these tasks.
After 1848 when the first American whaling vessel passed through the Bering Strait these engravings became very popular with the ships crews. They began to depict sailing ships and firearms and became more heavily and thickly worked, sometimes with animals and landscapes in perspective with delicate shading. In the late 19th century the whole tusk would be covered and often made into objects such as cribbage boards in order to suit European taste.