Alaska Native Collections – Sharing Knowledge

Related Objects

Harpoon head

aghveghqutaq “harpoon head”
Language: St. Lawrence Island Yupik

Also called:
tuugkaq “harpoon head”
Language: St. Lawrence Island Yupik

I think their belief was that …animal designs would make them a better hunter, and more successful in retrieving the animals that they hunted.

—Branson Tungiyan, 2001

Designs engraved on harpoon heads and socket pieces from the Old Bering Sea period (A.D. 100 - 800) often depict animals or suggest them in abstract form, an artistic practice that expressed spiritual connection between human and animal beings. The lines and spurs on this harpoon head may represent a bird’s feathers, appealing to the winged creature as a helping spirit.

Culture: St. Lawrence Island Yupik
Region: Little Diomede Island, Alaska
Object Category: Hunting
Dimensions: Length 12.5cm
Accession Date: 1929
Source: Henry B. Collins Jr. (collector)
Museum: National Museum of Natural History
Museum ID Number: A347940