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Ivory artefacts from Nunalleq

March 5, 2020

Here are some pictures from Rick’s work with the collection in Quinhagak – displaying the amazing artistry of the Nunalleq inhabitants.


An ivory toggle in the form of an owl with the rear flippers of a seal, representing an animal in the midst of transformation. This close-up view shows some of the tool marks left by the carver. Traces of adhesive in the eye sockets suggest that this piece originally had inset eyes of perhaps a different material. Length about 1.5 inches

ivory toggle

This ivory toggle was probably used as a tie on a woman’s belt. It may represent a spirit being or perhaps a human/bird transformation. It is depicted with a pair of large labrets and the eyes were originally inset with bright pyrites, the remnants of which have now oxidized


This walrus ivory bust is less than an inch high, but is detailed enough to show a pair of large labrets below the lower lip. A large hole drilled in the back of the head admits light that illuminates the eyes slightly, even indoors. In daylight in fact the eyes glow bright red.

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