The purpose of this attachment is not known, although it was clearly meant to be bound and fitted to a larger object, possibly a kayak. The rich brown ivory has glossy and matt surfaces, the matt area on the seal’s back being carved in the shape of a baby seal riding on its back. The baby’s tiny eyes are deeply drilled. The eyes of the main seal are inlaid with ivory rings, the pupils of which are missing.
Steven Hooper, 1997
Entry taken from Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Collection, Vol. 2: Pacific, African and Native North American Art, edited by Steven Hooper (Yale University Press, 1997) p. 237.
Purchased by the Sainsbury Centre, University of East Anglia from Arbutus Limited on the advice of Robert Sainsbury in 1980 out of income from the Sainsbury Purchasing Fund.
Not on display
Title/Description: Seal attachment
Object Type: Ornament
Materials: Walrus ivory
Measurements: l. 109 x w. 20 x d. 12 mm
Accession Number: 739
Historic Period: 18th century or earlier
Credit Line: Purchased with support from Robert and Lisa Sainsbury, 1980