Alaska Native Collections – Sharing Knowledge

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Harpoon foreshaft

iquyak “foreshaft”
Language: St. Lawrence Island Yupik

Harpoons were complex and precisely designed tools for harvesting sea mammals. This short, pointed piece served as a connector between the harpoon head and the socket piece. When the weapon hit a seal or walrus the harpoon head popped off and twisted away from the foreshaft, embedding itself beneath the animal’s skin.

Culture: St. Lawrence Island Yupik
Region: St. Lawrence Island, Alaska
Object Category: Hunting
Dimensions: Length 12cm
Accession Date: 1913
Source: Riley D. Moore (collector)
Museum: National Museum of Natural History
Museum ID Number: E280307