This exceptional older Eskimo item was fashioned from the base of a walrus tusk, using just the hollow basal segment up to and including some ot the secondary dentin in the tusk. That upper solid part has been carved (the old chisel marks are clearly visible) to fashion the flukes a whale—most likely a bowhead whale. Turned up, with the flukes at the bottom, effigy, capable of hold water (or other fluids). The “rim’ of the cup has two small drill holes—one on each side. I surmise that this would have been for a sinew lanyard by which the cup may have been hung (from neck or hook), to keep the cup upright. Acting on that conjecture I’ve added a sinew lanyard. The “cup” is 4 ½” high,, with a greatest diameter, at the top of the slightly flattened cup, of about 2”. There is a small old chip missing from the tip of one fluke, and there aslo is an old generous chip from the side above the base of the fluke. I interpret this last to be damage from when the tusk was chopped out of the walrus. The cup is well stained from immersion in a permafrost midden. The cup reminds me of “canoe cups) carried by Eastern Woodland Indians for drinking from ponds or streams, and this may well have served this purpose in an Eskimo Kayak—or hung near a water cask in an Eskimo home. The cup has two labels affixed to it that carry collection numbers. It is an unusual item. Fine.
Price - $500.00