There is a strong Inuit tradition of carving human and owl faces from whale vertebrae, and also a 19th century tradition of carving and painting vertebrae to resemble John Wesley (1703-1791), the British religious leader and founder of Methodism. This carving though--carved from the vertebrae of what type of animal I am not sure--does not seem an easy fit for either category, and seems to be just its own very special thing!
And quite a character he is, wonderfully responsive to the form and substance of the bone itself, with great deeply carved decorative details for the brim as well as the top of the hat, one eye raised as if to interrogate us, a long, angular nose and pronounced philtrum terminating in a tightly pursed mouth.
Small, but with a big presence! 4 3/4" wide x 3 3/4" tall x 2 1/8" deep. Excellent condition. I really have no idea of its age but it definitely has some.