Walrus Jawbone Carvings
Fossil walrus bone is mostly found on the Arctic coasts of Alaska and St. Lawrence Island, in Eskimo villages such as Sekloaqget, Ievoghiyog and Miyowagh. The bone is found at ancient hunting sites or obtained from natural "washups" of the massive skeletons and skulls. Bones excavated from mounds near Gambell on St. Lawrence Island have been dated as being more than 1000 years old. Realizing the potential of this rough material for sculpting, a small group of artists began carving hunters, whimsical dancers and drummers, and graceful Arctic wildlife. Walrus bone is particularly dense to support the massive frame of adult walrus. Mature females weigh in at 2,000 lbs. and males weigh easily half again as much. Although regulated walrus hunting is still permitted by Native villagers to support their subsistence lifestyle, the bone used in these works of art is very old. Colors of fossil walrus bone vary greatly, depending on the length of time the bone was buried and what types of soil it was buried in. The cracks which you sometimes see in the sculptures are quite natural for materials of this age and add character and charm to each individual work of art.
- Page 1 of 2