Eskimo Yupik Carved Walrus Ivory Gaming Pieces
Eskimo Yupik Carved Walrus Ivory Gaming Pieces

Eskimo Yupik Carved Walrus Ivory Gaming Pieces

1700 to 1800 Arctic

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Two Eskimo Yupik Carved Walrus Ivory Gaming Pieces
Depicting migrant water birds used in a game of chance
18th Century or earlier

Size: 2cm high, 2cm wide, 4cm deep - ¾ ins high, ¾ ins wide, 1½ ins deep (each)
Provenance: Ex London Private collection
Huge flocks of migratory waterfowl including geese, swans, cranes and ducks gather on the wetlands of Western Alaska in the early spring to breed. The Bering Sea Eskimo would take advantage of this seasonal abundance of eggs and meat and made efficient use of all the game available at different times of the year. This seasonality of food sources was broadly predictable from one year to the next and was a major determination in establishing a village location.
Small carvings of birds and animals, such as these, were often made as a pastime during the long winters and traded when ships arrived in the summer.
Medium
Walrus
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