Monday, November 20, 2017

Dorset Bear Heads

A family of four Dorset Palaeoeskimo polar
bear pendant reproductions
I had a couple requests this summer for reproductions of Dorset Palaeoeskimo walrus ivory polar bear head pendants.  I finally finished a set and shipped off the first two late last week.  I use the same couple of Dorset artifacts for reference for all of them, but slight differences in the size and the ivory always gives them their own personalities.  To me, the larger two look the most natural and look like a male and female.  The smaller two are closer in size and style to the reference artifacts.  

The original artifacts have hollow throats, which
allows them to be suspended on a cord.  The
originals may have been suspended in a similar
way, but there may also be a more spiritual
significance to the hollow throat design.
I'm still working the same few tusks of walrus ivory that I purchased from the West Baffin Co-op in Cape Dorset.  It is well seasoned now, but I still take precautions to keep it from drying out and cracking or de-laminating.  When I finish a carving like this (and sometimes while they are in progress) I coat the ivory in a generous layer of mineral oil.  I use unscented baby oil.  The ivory sucks up the oil and it prevents it from drying out.  I find that if you wear and handle walrus ivory a lot your natural skin oils will replenish and protect the piece from drying out.  If you've purchased an ivory pendant or harpoon head from me in the past, it would probably be a good idea to give it another coating of baby oil every few years.  Now would be a good time.

Each one turned out slightly different.

The smallest in the set are still available.  Contact me for pricing.


Still available. Contact me for pricing.
Photo Credits: Tim Rast
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