Cultural Context: Arctic style
Origin: Alaska (United States, North America)
Technique: Carved, Incised, Perforated
Dimensions: Height = 2.5 cm; Length = 7 cm; Width = 1.8 cm
Inventory No.: 13037
Rectangular ivory pin. On one side there is a curved tongue with small circular perforations. On the other, a zoomorphic figure has been carved upside down. The animal has a small head, pointed eyes and nose, forelegs close to its face, seven incisions on each side, and webbed hind legs. The loops allow pieces of hunting and fishing gear to be attached to the kayak, a vessel used mainly by groups in the Arctic region. Sometimes, pins like this are decorated with representations of animals that are considered to be benefactors of the community or that are thought to bring luck in fishing. In this case, it seems that the carving depicts an otter, considered a supernatural being for some of these cultures. This piece is one of a group of works collected in the last third of the 18th century during the various Spanish scientific expeditions that reached this region.