Raymond Toolie’s Detailed Ivory Polar Bear Carving


This content showcases Raymond Toolie’s ivory polar bear carving, an exceptional piece from the renowned Yupik artist. The carving not only represents a beautiful piece of art but also reflects the rich cultural heritage of the Yupik people from the St. Lawrence Island, Alaska.

About the Artist and the Carving

Raymond Toolie, a talented Yupik artist from Savoonga, has crafted an incredibly detailed ivory polar bear in motion. Using walrus ivory, he inlaid baleen for the eyes and nose, adding to the piece’s realism and charm. Measuring 6 inches in length, 1.5 inches in width, and 2.2 inches in height, this polar bear carving commands attention. Priced at $675, it is available exclusively for sale within the United States.

  • Dimensions: 6″ long, 1.5″ wide, 2.2″ high
  • Material: Walrus ivory with baleen inlaid eyes and nose
  • Price: $675
  • Sale: US only

Cultural Significance of Walrus Ivory Carvings

The Yupik people of the St. Lawrence Island, particularly those from the villages of Gambell and Savoonga, have earned acclaim for their exceptional walrus ivory carvings. These small communities, with a combined population of less than 1500 people, continually produce intricate ivory artworks that showcase their meticulous craftsmanship and deep cultural traditions.

  • Location: Gambell and Savoonga, St. Lawrence Island, Bering Sea, Alaska
  • Population: Less than 1500 people
  • Craftsmanship: Renowned for detailed walrus ivory carvings

Importance of Walrus in Yupik Culture

Walruses play a vital role in the nutritional and cultural life of the Yupik people. The Yupik community utilizes every part of the walrus, demonstrating their profound respect for this essential marine resource.

  • Nutritional Use: The Yupik people rely on the meat, blubber, skin, and organs for essential nutrition.
  • Cultural Use: They use hides to cover boats and carve tusks into intricate ivory artworks.
  • Economic Benefit: These carvings provide income for the Yupik communities by being sold to collectors.


Raymond Toolie’s polar bear carving is more than just an art piece; it embodies the Yupik community’s rich traditions and their respectful relationship with nature. The detailed craftsmanship and natural materials highlight the skill and cultural significance of this Yupik ivory carving, making it a piece for a valuable addition to any collection.

For more information or to purchase, visit Tribal Crafts.


large walrus ivory polar bear

Raymond Toolie   Yupik

Large ivory bear in motion

Walrus ivory & baleen – 2.2 x 6.0 x 1.5 inches

$675 (for US sale only – excluding CA, NJ, & NY)