Inuit polar bear carving

This is a walrus ivory tooth/tusk carved in the shape of a polar bear. It is a simple elegantly carved piece which skilfully exploits the curvature of the tooth/tusk to reflect the stature of a polar bear standing to its full height when reared on its back legs. The carving is probably a 19th century piece made for the tourist market. There is a long tradition of Inuit polar bear carvings, mainly associated with Inuit shamans. Bears were often the most important helping spirit for a shaman.

  • Material/Medium: walrus, ivory
  • Date: n/a
  • Creator: n/a
  • Accession number:  A1980.146
  • Category: World Cultures
  • Subject: n/a