Item WC4 - Eskimo Walrus Ivory Harpoon Head.

This nicely crafted harpoon head is made from Walrus ivory that has wonderful light yellow patina. Of the form found near the Bering Straits, it has a chamfered top ridge, and elongate triangular line hole with line guides carved behind, a closed socket hole, a single spur, and a blade slot at the tip that is vertical. Lacking the step down groove around the tip, that is usually provided for sinew wrapping around a flint blade, this was likely made for a ground slate blade. It was the Bering Strait Eskimo practice to keep their harpoon blades in a protective box until just before use.  The blade was then slipped into its prepared slot. When metal blades began to be used (after the middle 1700s) they were usually secured with a pin through the  front of the harpoon head.  Slate blades were seldom pinned.  This reduced the odds of breakage; plus in the event of an unsuccessful hunt, the slate blade could be removed and returned to its box.  This harpoon head is in near perfect condition, without cracks or chips. There are no engraved markings. It is about 6 1/2 long, with a greatest depth of 1 1/2 and a width of 7/8. This is small for a harpoon head used for Bowhead whales, and likely would have been intended for walrus or Beluga whales. It is probably from the first half of the 19th century. Fine




      Price -  $540.00

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