Alaska Native Collections – Sharing Knowledge

Related Media
Related Objects


Young men would assiduously practice fighting with the lance as well as running and carrying heavy stones. However, the chief aim of this practice was to increase the strength of the arms. “He practiced so long, that the shaft of the lance became, in his hands, as pliable as a strip of skin,” says one tale about a hero.

—Waldemar Bogoras, from “The Chukchee,” 1904-1909

This fighting lance is ornamented with a bell and brass wrapping. The engraved point was forged far to the south, in the iron-working region around the Amur River. Bering Sea warriors used lances in battle; travelers and reindeer herdsmen carried them for self-defense, and hunters used them to kill polar bears.

Culture: Eastern Siberian
Region: Anastasia Bay, Siberia
Object Category: War
Dimensions: Length 119.5cm
Accession Date: 1917
Source: J. E. Standley (seller)
Museum: National Museum of the American Indian
Museum ID Number: 070644.000