A Superb Toggle or Drag Handle
A superb toggle or drag handle carved in the form of a stylized whale. There are what appear to be a series of tally marks incised on the undecorated edge of the toggle. The individual ornamental design motifs do not relate to any formal representation of the whale-form yet when taken as an imbricated and total design they offer a subtle reading of the whales features : the concentric circle and dot at the head, the central concentric ovals and dot, the body and the sweeping motifs highlighted with dots at the extremity figuring the tail flukes. Punuk Islands, Saint Lawrence Island, Bering Strait, Alaska, USA. Punuk Culture 600 – 900 AD. Mineralized walrus tusk (Odobenus rosmarus divergens). 11,4 cm.
Provenance Ex Norman Hurst Gallery, Cambridge, Mass., 1998.
Literature: Arctic Ivory - Two Thousand Years of Alaskan Eskimo Art and Artifacts, Norman Hurst Gallery, Cambridge, Mass., 1998, N° 17.