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Enquiry from Online Galleries regarding "Collection of Bering Sea Eskimo Inuit Male and Female Labrets ‘Tuutat’"
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Look at what I found on the Online Galleries website!
Carved from walrus ivory, stone and jet, one with a blue glass trade bead
18th and 19th Century
Sizes: 2.5cm high (max) 1cm high (min) 4cm wide (max)
1 ins high (max) ¼ ins high (min) 1½ ins wide (max)
When travelling long distances in cold weather, men would remove large labrets from their cheeks to avoid suffering frostbite conducted through the plug. They would reinsert the labrets to appear as well-dressed guests when they entered the ‘gasgig’. It is said that men wearing labrets resemble walrus with their tusks projecting from the corners of their mouths. Certainly, labrets were symbols of maturity and social status, with the largest ones reserved for those of high rank and distinction.