Overview of Dennis Pungowiyi’s Walrus Carving

Artist and Origin

Dennis Pungowiyi, a distinguished Yupik artist, showcases his meticulous craftsmanship in carving walrus ivory. The Pungowiyi family originates from Savoonga, a village on the St. Lawrence Island known for its rich cultural heritage. Nevertheless, despite his roots, Dennis now resides on mainland Alaska.

Description of the Carving

  • Material: Fossil ivory walrus
  • Dimensions: 2.2″ long, 1″ wide, 1.5″ high
  • Details: This exquisite carving features walrus whiskers for tusks, highlighting Dennis’s unique and intricate detailing.
  • Signature: Additionally, Dennis Pungowiyi signs each piece, ensuring authenticity and adding value.
  • Price: The carving is priced at $325.
  • Availability: Importantly, this item is exclusively available for sale in the United States.

Cultural Context

The Yupik people primarily live in Gambell and Savoonga on the St. Lawrence Island, located 32 miles from the Siberian coast in the Bering Sea. These villages, with a combined population of fewer than 1,500, are renowned for their skilled walrus ivory carvers. Furthermore, some Yupik communities reside along the mainland coast of Alaska near the Bering Sea.

Importance of Walruses in Yupik Culture

Walruses play a crucial role in Yupik sustenance and cultural practices. The Yupik people utilize every part of the walrus:

  • Food: They rely on the meat, blubber, skin, and organs for nutrition.
  • Craftsmanship: The tusks are carved into intricate ivory pieces, which are sold to collectors, generating income.
  • Utilities: The hides are processed to cover boats, showcasing their resourcefulness.

Resources for Further Information

For more details on similar works and cultural context, you can visit:

In conclusion, this overview highlights Dennis Pungowiyi’s artistry and provides cultural context, reflecting the significance of walrus ivory carvings in Yupik tradition. Thus, this piece not only represents fine craftsmanship but also a vital connection to Yupik heritage.

fossil ivory walrus

Dennis Pungowiyi   Yupik

Fossil ivory walrus

Fossil ivory, baleen, & seal whiskers – 1.5 x 2.2 x 1.0 inches

$325 ( for US sale only – excluding  CA, NJ, and NY)