Bering Strait Eskimo Inuit Barbed Whalebone Harpoon or Spear Head Point

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Object Description

Bering Strait Eskimo Inuit Barbed Whalebone Harpoon or Spear Head Point
Old smooth soft creamy patina
Attached an old label reading ‘Beasley Collection Esquimaux Bering Strait 27.7.24’
18th Century

Size: 12.5cm long – 5 ins long

Object History

Provenance:
Ex collection Harry Geoffrey Beasley Cranmore Ethnographical Museum, Chislehurst Kent
Ex collection Kenneth John Hewett (1919 – 1994) London

Object Literature

The greatest challenge to Eskimo survival was not the cold, but the difficulty of obtaining food since the only food resources the Arctic provided in any quantity was mammals and fish. It required considerable ingenuity and effort to obtain these not only because of the behaviour of the animals, but because ice, wind and the barren landscape made it extremely difficult for the hunter to approach their prey. However, once caught these animals and fish provided the raw materials for not only food, but for clothing, shelter, fuel, utensils, tools and weapons.
These small carefully barbed whalebone points were used on harpoons with feathered shafts that were thrown in conjunction with a throwing board when hunting smaller sea mammals in open water with drag and float gear from a kayak.

Object Details

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