E0227: Inuit- Figurine - Biliken
8:Communication Artifacts ➞ Personal Symbol
animal ➔ ivory
6 cm W
12 cm H
Provenance of Object:
This object was held in the museum that Luther College started in 1877. This museum eventually grew into the Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum, and following this, non-Norwegian American ethnographic objects were returned to Luther and accessioned into the college’s Anthropology Collection. Without additional documentation, was likely obtained by the Luther College Museum (later the Norwegian-American Museum) between the late 19th century and early 20th century.
Native American ➞ Inuit
Description:"Billiken"-style human figure carved from a walrus tooth. The facial features are emphasized with graphite. The figure is seated with its feet out in front and 10 toes clearly visible. The arms hang next at its sides and there is a hole where the belly button should be. Similar figures have charms, gems, and/or gold in this position and something has clearly been removed from this figure. This style of figurine was sold all over Alaska as good luck charms.