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Enquiry from Online Galleries regarding "Norton Sound Yupik Eskimo Carved Walrus Ivory Bladder Dart"
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The toothed mouth embracing a whalebone barbed point an attached walrus ivory toggling point carved as the head of a wolf
Early 19th Century
Size: approx: 54cm long - 20¼ long
Ex American New York collection
Hunting equipment, and especially bladder dart socket pieces, often display land or sea predators whose cunningness is engaged spiritually to enhance the hunter’s success. The socket piece on this example is engraved with a seal's head with open mouth, teeth and whiskers, ears, eyebrows and eyes set with Russian blue glass trade beads. The stylised ‘tooth pattern’ of the seal is often found on artefacts from the Norton Sound region where hunting magic and animal symbolism are important.
In the Spring, seals are hunted from kayaks and advantage is taken of the large congregations of seals basking upon the ice floes. At such times the hunter wears a white shirt so he can be camouflaged against the ice, disembark and rapidly approach the seals before they became alarmed. Walrus are also taken around the ice floes.