Alaska Native Collections – Sharing Knowledge

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kuynga “pipe”
Language: St. Lawrence Island Yupik

And here’s all these different seals – ribbon seals, spotted seal and a bearded seal. A very good artist; he etched the various types of marine mammals that were hunted at Gambell on St. Lawrence Island. And over here are whaling scenes, a boat just about ready to strike a whale, another boat ready to harpoon a walrus.

—Branson Tungiyan, 2001

Tobacco pipes carved from walrus tusks and engraved with village and hunting scenes were first made by Inupiaq artists of northwest Alaska, both for local use and as items for sale and trade. The style was adopted on St. Lawrence Island by the early 1900s. This St. Lawrence Island Yupik pipe is engraved with scenes of seal, walrus and whale hunting, a sled dog team, reindeer, and other aspects of subsistence life.

Culture: St. Lawrence Island Yupik
Region: St. Lawrence Island, Alaska
Object Category: Tobacco
Dimensions: Length 30cm
Accession Date: 1921
Source: Rev. Sheldon Jackson (collector)
Museum: National Museum of Natural History
Museum ID Number: E316794