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Savoonga Ivory Carvers: A Yupik Walrus Ivory Carving Tradition on St. Lawrence Island, AK by Bruce Bartholomew SOLD OUT/Please locate another source

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Price: $79.00
SOLD - Please call us for more information
Item Number: 8988827206

This lavishly produced hardcover book, published in 2015, is a large format (9 × 12 × 2 inches) with 490 color illustrations and includes both photographs of almost all the carvers of Savoonga as well as photographs of their work. The book brings together a great deal of information concerning not only the names of the carvers but also what they carve, how they signed their names, and how they are related to other carvers on the island. No other publication has this sort of in depth information about this carving tradition.

The two villages (Savoonga and Gamble) on St. Lawrence Island, Alaska are famous for their walrus ivory carvers. This book covers the modern tradition of walrus ivory carving in Savoonga from the 1940s to the first part of the 21st century and deals with essentially all the carvers from this village during this period. Before about the 1970s few carvers signed their names although as discussed in this book there are certain styles by which even these earlier pieces are often identifiable as being from St. Lawrence Island.

St. Lawrence Island is the largest island in the Bering Sea and is located in the northern part of this sea between Alaska and Russia. The island has only two villages and a total population of less than 1,500 people split about equally between the two villages. Almost all the people living in these villages are Yupik Eskimos, also sometimes referred to as Siberian Yupik as they share a language and culture and in many cases even a family connection with the Yupik people in adjacent coastal parts of the southern Chukchi Peninsula of Russia.

Eskimo art is a subject that covers not only a wide range of media but also many different linguistic and cultural groups over a large part of the arctic and subarctic from Russia through Alaska and Canada to Greenland. All of these different groups share a common cultural heritage in subsistence hunting of marine mammals and the use of these mammals for both food and many aspects of their material and social culture. Among the animals hunted, walrus are not only used for food but in traditional society their skin was used for the covering of boats and houses, and even their intestine served to make waterproof clothing. But, it is the use of ivory from walrus tusks which has a special place in the culture of many Eskimo groups and has continuity from pre-history to the present day. Among all the Eskimo walrus ivory carvers those from St. Lawrence Island are conspicuous as one of the most outstanding traditions.

CA Design, 2015.
Hardcover, 516 pages.

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