Inuit Carved Bone Miniature Dog Sled with Figure and Seals

Regular price $100.00

Based on a few other Inuit carvings of dog sleds I have found in a similar manner, I think this one may come from the Nunavat region in Northern Canada, and would think likely dates to the mid 20th century or so, at a time when thousands of Inuit sled dogs (qimmiit) were killed in a government initiative to pressure Inuit people to abandon traditional subsistence hunting and ways of life. Also around this time (and in response), artist cooperatives formed in Nanavut and elsewhere to support Inuit artists and market their work, which may have been the vehicle through which this piece was sold.

Definitely the dogs were once tethered by strings held by the figure, which are now lost (though their leather harnesses remain and are fully in tact), and it is possible that both dogs and sleds once sat upon a wood or bone plinth. Behind the figure on the sled are two seals, being carried in from the hunt, and on the hands and face of the figure are traces of red paint. I find it quite poignant, conveying a feeling of reverence for seals and dogs both, with the head of one seal resting against the back of the figure, while the figure faces his fleet. 

Sled measures 4 1/2" l x 3/4" w x 1 3/8" t. Dogs measure 1 1/2" l x 1" tall each. Except for the loss of reigns and possibly base, it is in good condition, with some darkening to the surface here and there, as detailed in photos, shot at 2-3 times magnification.