North America

Human figure

Alaska

Thule Culture (Ancient Eskimo)
18th century or earlier

Carved walrus tooth
Height: 1 in. (2.7 cm)

Ex private collection, Geneva

Published: White Memory

Price: on request

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According to Fitzhugh et Kaplan (Inua: Spirit World of the Bering Sea Eskimo, 1982 : 156), these shamanic figurines were carved for several purposes: to stand in for people absent from the village during festivals, to avert infertility, or else to focus the attention of animal inua (spirit) during the Doll Festival, which was held to bless hunting and fishing expeditions in the coming year.