Punuk tool

North America | Alaska

Punuk tool

Alaska

Ornament / implement – possibly a sinew spinner
Punuk Culture or early Thule, archaic Eskimo

Walrus tooth
Prior to the 18th century
Diameter : 1 ¾ in. (4.8 cm)

Ex private collection, Geneva
Ex private collection, France

Punuk sinew spinner 6 cm / Galerie Flak On request
This ivory object may have been a sinew spinner as described E W Nelson (The Eskimo About Bering Strait, Annual Report, Bureau of American Ethnology, 1899). It is an oval disc, with one convex and one concave surface. On the concave surface is a raised, lyre-shaped eminence which may have been used to hold the sinew during the twisting or spinning. At the center of the convex surface there is a round socket which retained the fragments of a wooden shaft. The convex surface bears an incised design which resembles a four-leafed clover.
This object has the particularity of having attachment holes on its circumference (as well as a fastener on its back), suggesting that it could also be an ornament attached to a piece of clothing or a tool.

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