Punuk / Thule Head

North America | Alaska

Punuk / Thule Head

Alaska

Thule or Punuk Culture
Archaic Eskimo

9th – 15th century
Carved walrus tooth
Height: 2 in. (5.4 cm)

Ex private collection, Geneva

Published: White Memory, 2016
Large archaic Eskimo Head 5.4 cm / Galerie Flak Price on request
Carved in a walrus tooth, this carved human head is intensely expressive.
The sacred, dignified air that emanates from the figure suggests the gigantic size and purity of line that are reminiscent of classical antiquities.
According to Fitzhugh and Kaplan (Inua: Spirit World of the Bering Sea Eskimo, 1982, p. 156), figures and heads carved in ivory were used to insure that certain important members of the village returned safe and sound from hunting or fishing expeditions. They also played a role as fertility charms, amulets for ancestor worship and for shamanic practices.

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