Very large bird figure / amulet
Thule culture (Ancient Eskimo)
18th century or earlier
Carved walrus tooth
Height: 4 cm – 1 ½ in.
Length: 8 cm – 3 ¼ in.
Ex collection Valeria & John Arieta, London, UK
Ex collection Edric van Vredenburgh, Brussels
Throughout history, Eskimo cultures have shared the belief that all things in the physical world are imbued with a living spirit, or inua. In order to gain favor with the spirits controlling the animals, a hunter had to approach his prey in a respectful manner. It was believed that decorated objects, through their beauty, attracted the prey and at the same time honored its spirit.