L x 4 3/4" H
The Inuit people of the arctic
have become masterful stone sculptors as a result of the cultural
heritage. Hunting is an essential part of survival, and Inuit
hunters believed that they could honor the animal spirits by
creating their likeness in stone.
By doing so, the animal spirits
would oblige them with a successful hunt. Young men, eager to
gain recognition and devoted to providing for their families,
would carve in earnest - each trying to outdo the other.
Today, the artistic expression
of this culture remains strong, and the Inuit people continue
to produce some of the most beautiful, detailed, and graceful
stone sculpture in the world.
Their carvings represent not
only the animals with which they share a close relationship,
but also human figures and mythological characters that tell
important stories and give explanations for the world they live
This exquisite polar bear
was carved by Sappa Ashoona, from Baffin Island, Cape Dorset,
Canada. It has been carved out of white marble and gives this
king of the Arctic an almost ethereal feel.
Cape Dorset is located north
of Hudson Bay on the southwest tip of Baffin Island, well above
the treeline and just south of the Arctic Circle.
The Inuit inhabitants have
always called the area Kinngait (pronounced king-ite), meaning
"the place of hills," but it was named Cape Dorset
in 1631 by the British explorer Captain Luke Foxe, who mapped
the region during his unsuccessful search for the Northwest Passage;
he named it in honour of the Earl of Dorset, who had sponsored
Today, Cape Dorset is a modern
community of nearly fourteen hundred inhabitants in the newly
created Canadian territory of Nunavut.