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Minneapolis Institute of Arts



Institution Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Ivory carving is an ancient tradition among the Inuit. Used for a variety of purposes, miniature sculptures express the creativity and innovation of Inuit artists. These two groups of carvings were created for different purposes in opposing areas of the Arctic. The Thule culture, located on the west coast of Alaska, created the set with the birds and caribou primarily for ceremonial purposes around 500 years ago. Many were probably worn as amulets, insuring that the people who owned them would gain the spiritual power of these animals for protection and good health. In some cases, objects would be used to assist the hunters to locate game. A ceremony would be performed where the shaman would toss the figures down until they all faced the same way, which would tell the hunters which direction to go for game.
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Source: Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Rights: Copyright Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Added to Site: November 21, 2009