Lot: 22

Rare wooden figure of the Thule culture, probably 17th century

Alaska, Shishmaref, Thule

Provenance Size Hammer price
Jeffrey Myers, New York City, USA
John Giltsoff, Girona, Spain
H: 27.6 inch sold

wood, rest., base

This figure was excavated at the ceremonial burial site of Shishmaref, a tiny island between Alaska and Siberia in the Chukchi sea.

It is the largest known wood Thule figure that could be excavated from the permafrost.

The Thule or proto-Inuit were the ancestors of all modern Inuit. They developed in coastal Alaska by the year 1000 and expanded eastward across northern Canada, reaching Greenland by the 13th century. In the process, they replaced people of the earlier Dorset culture that had previously inhabited the region. The appellation "Thule" originates from the location of Thule (relocated and renamed Qaanaaq in 1953) in northwest Greenland, facing Canada, where the archaeological remains of the people were first found at Comer's Midden. The links between the Thule and the Inuit are biological, cultural, and linguistic.

This object is subject to the UNESCO Cultural Heritage Protection Act. For shipment to a non-EU member state, export regulations will vary.