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Lot 0591
**Originally Listed At $600**

Native American, Northwest Alaska, Thule culture, ca. 1200 to 1700 CE. A rare effigy idol of a miniature size, hand-carved from bone, perhaps walrus. The figure has a simplified body with an incised slit on each side of the legs, a slender body with rounded shoulders, and a head boasting incised features like eyes, brows, lips, and a nose. Size: 0.8" W x 1.8" H (2 cm x 4.6 cm); 3.6" H (9.1 cm) on included custom stand.

The Thule people were the ancestors of modern Inuit whose advanced culture and technology made them a part of the global economy during what we in the west call the medieval period. This figure was carved during a dynamic time in Thule history; recent research indicates that sometime after ca. 1200 CE, perhaps in a span of just a few years, the Thule people spread from their Bering Strait homeland all the way to Greenland, likely driven by the search for iron, both from meteoric deposits they may have heard about from the Dorset people to their east and from trade. They traded with the Chinese to their west - metal beads and a belt buckle of Chinese manufacture and dating to 1100 to 1300 CE have been found in in the Seward Peninsula - and interacted with the Vikings to their east, who describe them in the Vinland Saga as the Skraelings.

Provenance: private Newport Beach, California, USA collection

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Minor nicks to legs, body, and head, with softening to some facial details, otherwise intact and very good. Light earthen deposits throughout.

Starting Bid


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Miniature Prehistoric Alaskan Thule Bone Idol

Estimate $900 - $1,800
$4500 bids
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