Harpoon Head – Old Bering Sea III, St Lawrence Island, Alaska

Sweeping, graceful linework elaborates the surface of this magnificently composed harpoon head, along with a number of circle motifs. The circles rest over subtle protrusions in the body of the form, lending an organic impression to the eye-like design. A sense of continuous rhythm and unfolding imagery is expressed in the dialogue of details, and new interpretations and relationships between them are produced as the viewer shifts their perspective and focus. The dark appearance of the ivory, nearly black with age, visually melds the greater form with the fine details, subduing them in a way that draws the gaze closer, inviting investigation.

The carving style presented here is masterfully controlled but executed with a freedom which differentiates Old Bering Sea II or III harpoon heads from the strict, angular formulations more common to Okvik or Old Bering Sea I carvings.

AD 300–500
Walrus ivory
L: 4 3/8"

Jeffrey Myers, New York City

Item Number:
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