I’ve always thought baleen baskets were beautiful. The baleen itself is very flexible, has a nice sheen to it, and smells wonderfully of the sea- like saltwater and dried seaweed. The finial is carved from walrus ivory with delicate dots to represent the eyes and whiskers. The Arctic Museum has a large collection of these baskets, thanks to generous donors, and it was a pleasure to sort through them to find the one I liked best.

I’ve always thought baleen baskets were beautiful. The baleen itself is very flexible, has a nice sheen to it, and smells wonderfully of the sea- like saltwater and dried seaweed. The finial is carved from walrus ivory with delicate dots to represent the eyes and whiskers. The Arctic Museum has a large collection of these baskets, thanks to generous donors, and it was a pleasure to sort through them to find the one I liked best.

   While researching walruses, I came across a photo of a photo of this figure and found out it is called a tupilak. This tupilak, carved from a sperm whale tooth and depicting a walrus/monster hybrid, is from Kulusk in East Greenland. Tupilaks were magical spirits created by a shaman and then sent out to destroy an enemy, but a more powerful shaman could turn them against their creator. The actual charm itself was made from bone, hair, fingernails, and other ingredients with magical properties. This tupilak represents the spirit summoned by the charm rather than a representation of the charm itself.

While researching walruses, I came across a photo of a photo of this figure and found out it is called a tupilak. This tupilak, carved from a sperm whale tooth and depicting a walrus/monster hybrid, is from Kulusk in East Greenland. Tupilaks were magical spirits created by a shaman and then sent out to destroy an enemy, but a more powerful shaman could turn them against their creator. The actual charm itself was made from bone, hair, fingernails, and other ingredients with magical properties. This tupilak represents the spirit summoned by the charm rather than a representation of the charm itself.

   This Inuit shovel was carved from a walrus shoulder blade. The Inuit, who inhabit the Arctic regions of Greenland, Canada, and the US, are well known for their sea faring and hunting skills and a large part of their diet comes from marine animals. Walrus are too powerful to be hunted by one person so Inuit hunters worked in teams. They and their families used most parts of the walrus, including the skin, bones, and ivory, in ingenious ways, as with this shovel.

This Inuit shovel was carved from a walrus shoulder blade. The Inuit, who inhabit the Arctic regions of Greenland, Canada, and the US, are well known for their sea faring and hunting skills and a large part of their diet comes from marine animals. Walrus are too powerful to be hunted by one person so Inuit hunters worked in teams. They and their families used most parts of the walrus, including the skin, bones, and ivory, in ingenious ways, as with this shovel.