Shamanic amulet – ornament depicting a whale
Thule Culture (ancient Eskimo)
18th century or earlier
Carved walrus tooth
Length: 1 ¼ in. – 3 cm
Ex collection Jean-Baptiste Bacquart, London / Paris
Ex collection Schmidt, London
Other ethnographic parallels recorded in the early 20th century demonstrate that figurines could be used as personal assistants and “spiritual helpers” to capture prey or as “guardians” to safeguard humankind from those physical and spiritual dangers encountered in the landscape.