Wonderful Old Inuit Scrimshawed Bone Box

Regular price $125.00

Really a wonderful, and curious little box, which I am quite confident is Inuit, and carved of bone--I would guess Caribou bone/antler as it feels very similar materially to a couple of Inuit dolls I've had, carved of Caribou bone and joined with thread made from sinew (ivalu), which is how the carved lock (which looks rather like a rudder) is secured and held tight via a knot on the opposite side of the box. 

I am not quite sure the original function of it--the two openings in the top suggest it might have been worn (?), or dispensed something through those holes, perhaps sinew thread??? The fantastic scrimshawed drawings on the sides--of a man with dog facing a man with bird on one side, and what looks like a steamship on the other--doesn't make it evident, but perhaps corresponds with the idea of some sort of thread or line? In any event, quite a special and unusual thing, 19th century I am pretty sure.

I would guess that the bone pin, which holds the lid in place at one corner, is a replacement for a more roughly carved original pin, though I'm not certain. One of two horizontal struts on the underside of the lid, which would further help to hold the lid snugly in place, is gone. Otherwise it is fully in tact, and the rudder-like lock rotates and holds in place in the locked position fairly well.

2 15/16" l x 1 1/8" d (1 1/2" including lock) x 1 3/16" tall not including pin.