Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Whale Art

This is a piece of artwork outside one of the Alaska Native Corporations in Anchorage. The two upright pieces are whale bones, probably from a bowhead whale. There is a very similar structure in Barrow that I have stood under that are bones from a bowhead whale jaw. That is what the baleen hangs from.

No home in Alaska would be complete without various whale and native artifacts. We have a piece of baleen hanging over the entry to the dining room. Baleen is the fringe that hangs down from the whales jawbone and captures all the tiny pieces of plankton that they eat. Here's a close up.
This is my prize possession. It is a native face mask made in Kivilina and was given to me as a gift. The face is made from a piece of whale bone and the fur is wolf. The eyes are little pieces of baleen. I used to work at an animal clinic and one time we had a dog that needed to get shipped to the village of Kivilina - something happened with the flights and I ended up taking the dog home to stay at my house so it could catch an early morning flight the following day. The owner was so thankful that she sent me this mask.

6 comments:

Jenny said...

I'm alikin your recent posts. Nice photos

A Free Spirit Butterfly said...

wow, i'm in awe of the sights that you see on a regular basis. i'm kind of living in a cacoon and i really need to get out more. your life is very interesting, colorful and full of art. you really could write or publish a book on what the treasures you discover along your life's journey.

you are a great photographer.
love, peace and blessings!

Aunt Krissy said...

I didn't know that's how you got the mask.

crochet lady said...

Very interesting. The baleen sort of looks like hair to me.

tainterturtles said...

Wow, really awesome Patty. The baleen is so fringy and looks so soft. I love it when people use real artifacts from nature to decorate their homes...good taste P.

Krissy has a lot of cool Alaskan stuff in her house too.

tainterturtles said...

Wow, really awesome Patty. The baleen is so fringy and looks so soft. I love it when people use real artifacts from nature to decorate their homes...good taste P.

Krissy has a lot of cool Alaskan stuff in her house too.