An Unusual Bering Sea Eskimo Inuit Double Headed Walrus Ivory Amuletic Drag Handle Portraying a Whiskered Seal and a Tusked Walrus
The eyes inlaid with baleen
First Half 19th Century
Size: 2.5cm high, 2cm wide, 2.5cm deep - 1 ins high, ¾ ins wide, 1 ins deep / 9.5cm high - 3¾ ins high (with base)
The larger sea mammals pose a direct physical threat to the Inuit hunter in the Arctic. Walrus can be quite dangerous as a big bull can weigh more than an entire crew of eight men plus their umiake boat and equipment.
An annoyed walrus does not shrink from attacking a large boat, not to mention a lone man standing beside a crack in the ice. As walrus frequently congregate and often travel in pods of dozens or even hundreds, walrus hunting had to be conducted with considerable caution.
Serving as a magical aid for both protection and hunting success, these talismanic carvings helped the hunter in his arduous task.