A Bering Sea Punuk Eskimo Walrus Ivory Bowman’s Wrist Guard
8.5cm x 4.2cm, 2cm deep - 3¼ ins x 1½ ins, ¾ ins deep
Ex Private American collection
Wrist guards were developed during the Punuk period as a protection against the slap of the bowstring on the inside of the left wrist after the arrow had been released.
The old Bering Sea hunters decorated objects with incised designs and spirit images in the belief that their beauty, which honoured the animal spirits, drew game to the hunter and strengthened the power of the weapon being used.
The absence of identical designs on Punuk Eskimo art suggests that it was produced by individual hunters rather than by designated craft specialists.