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TREASURES FROM THE NORTH



The cultures of the Arctic and Alaska endured in a more or less primitive state until this century and the cold temperatures have made for some well preserved examples of art and utility ware. In addition, the long winters, marine mammals as quarry, and special skills with bone and ivory mean these northern peoples have left a legacy of especially interesting keepsakes and trade items.

Eskimo style fish lures jpg

Native Americans of the Pacific Coast made a variety of fish lures and fish decoys to aid in their protein quest. What we call a fish lure is an item made to resemble something edible to a fish, but with a prong or hook that would enable the fisherman to pull the prize in.

A fish decoy would be used to entice a fish to the surface where he would be speared or netted.

Moose Antler LuresOur examples are made of mussel shell, moose antler, mammoth ivory or bone with hooks and rings of hand hammered antiqued copper. Most of these also show bead inlay and fine line engraving. Like most of our line, our fishlures look as though they have lain in the frozen mud for a hundred years. These are the perfect gift for the fishing buff that appreciates the fact that many fishermen have come before him.

Depending on size and detail, our north country style fishlures sell for from $25 to $90 each.

Hunting marine mammals is a very specialized task, especially if one is doing it from a kayak, in icy waters, and with primitive weapons. Native Americans of the northern coastal regions developed this style of hunting to a state of primitive excellence.

The weapons they used to aid them in their captures included large harpoons, smaller bladder darts, bows and arrows, as well as an impressive array of rigging devices that allowed the hunter to follow the quarry after harpooning.

Harpoon PointHarpoons and bladder darts, often launched with the aid of an atlatl, delivered barbed points tethered to an inflated bladder or animal skin. The shafts of these weapons frequently were themselves buoyed to the surface with an inflated animal organ, and were easily retrieved even as the point they delivered was being carried away by a seal or whale.

Bone Arrow and Dart Points jpgA wide variety of smaller dart points were made from antler, bone and ivory, while larger harpoon points were often composites of stone blades mounted in antler or ivory bodies.

Our collectible bone and ivory points include a variety of styles, and generally sell for from $10 to $60 per piece, but are most often requested in lots of various styles. These are excellent for framing, trading or collecting, and are well antiqued for even a close examination.

Bone and Ivory Needles jpgIn addition to the need for food, the native of the far north would face a constant threat of exposure. This necessitated a well developed industry designed around the use of animal skins for clothing.Awls and bodkins Bone, antler and ivory awls and bodkins, and needles needed to sew skins into clothing are therefore common items to these cultures.

Frequently , they are extremely well made and show the importance to these people of excellence in the making of daily essentials. Often they are adorned with stylized animal motifs.

These items offer an opportunity to display a more domestic aspect of primitive life than the average artifact. They make beautiful framed groups, and are excellent, detailed collectibles.

Our bodkins and needles sell for from $10 to $40 each piece. As with all of our finished goods, each piece is unique, and the best selection can be had by purchasing a variety lot. E mail us to inquire about current availability and prices.

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