The Testimony of Hands


63.3.3, fish lure of walrus ivory
Inuit; Alaska, Point Hope? (A.D. 800–1300?)
Frank Hibben collection
Photograph by B. Bernard

This fish lure is about 5 centimeters (2 inches) long. The "scales" were created by drilling on a slight slant with a composite drill bit (like the one used on a bone pin featured under "Ornaments"). As is the case with so many Inuit (Eskimo) functional artifacts, the ivory fishing lure represents an aesthetically pleasing solution to the challenges of an extreme environment and a limited range of raw materials. Even in such conditions, the human need for beauty and creativity is obvious.

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