Yupik Ivory Carving by Dennis Pungowiyi


Dennis Pungowiyi, a renowned Yupik artist, has crafted a stunning ivory carving of a spotted seal. This piece showcases the fine detail and exceptional skill that define Yupik ivory carvings.

Details of the Carving

  • Material: Walrus ivory with inlaid baleen eyes and spots
  • Dimensions: 3.3 inches long, 1.5 inches wide, 1.25 inches high
  • Signature: Dennis signed the carving with his initials, DHP
  • Price: $375
  • Availability: Available for US sale only

Cultural Background

The Yupik people, especially those from Gambell and Savoonga on the St. Lawrence Island, excel in creating intricate ivory carvings. Located off the Northwest coast of Alaska in the Bering Sea, these villages house fewer than 1500 people combined. Additionally, some Yupik communities reside along the mainland coast of Alaska near the Bering Sea.

Significance of Walrus to Yupik Culture

Walruses play a vital role in the lives of Alaska Natives, offering both nutritional and cultural benefits:

  • Food: They provide a rich source of meat, blubber, skin, and organs.
  • Tools and Crafts: Yupik artisans process the hides to cover boats and carve the tusks into detailed artworks like Dennis Pungowiyi’s spotted seal. These carvings not only preserve cultural traditions but also generate income for the community.

Explore more about Alaskan ivory carvings and view other artworks on Tribal Crafts.

For an in-depth look at the life and culture of Savoonga ivory carvers, check out the book available on Amazon.

Dennis Pungowiyi Yupik

Ivory spotted seal

Walrus ivory & baleen –¬†1.25 x 3.3 x 1.5 inches

$375 (for US sale only –¬†excluding CA, NJ, & NY)