Alaska Native Collections – Sharing Knowledge

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nassiŋuaq “pretend seal”
Language: Qawiaraq Iñupiaq

The glass beads for eyes indicate it’s a special animal that perhaps was tied onto a belt.

—Branson Tungiyan, 2001

Hunters used charm figures – animals carved of ivory, bone, stone or wood - to gain the cooperation of animal spirits. They wore the small carvings around their necks, on belts, and in their clothing and fastened others to hunting equipment and boats. The charms had various powers – to guide hunters to game or to give them sharper vision, to attract animals, or to make weapons more effective.

Culture: Iñupiaq
Region: Norton Sound, Alaska
Village: Unalakleet
Object Category: Hunting
Dimensions: Length 10.5cm
Accession Date: 1908
Source: E. W. Nelson (collector)
Museum: National Museum of the American Indian
Museum ID Number: 020408.000