Tupilak #29, crafted by master Inuit carver Soren Pipps from Kulusuk, stands as a stunning representation of Greenlandic Inuit art. This unique piece, meticulously carved from a large sperm whale tooth, measures 6 inches in height, 1.75 inches in width, and 2 inches in depth. Moreover, it showcases a distinctive design with a walrus perched on its head and a figure at the bottom adorned with fangs and teeth. This particular tupilak has already sold, underscoring its exceptional craftsmanship and cultural significance.

Historical and Cultural Context

Tupilaks hold a revered place in Greenlandic Inuit tradition, spanning many centuries. These figures, which depict spiritual creatures, historically wielded magical powers to cast spells on enemies. Initially, tupilaks existed as spiritual entities created through shamanistic rituals. However, with the arrival of European visitors intrigued by these legends, Inuit artisans began crafting physical representations of tupilaks, primarily from sperm whale teeth.

Evolution of Tupilak Craftsmanship

Over the past century, the art of tupilak carving has evolved significantly. Artisans have transitioned to using a variety of materials such as narwhal and walrus tusks, wood, and caribou antler. Each material imbues the final piece with unique qualities, while all maintain the distinctive characteristics that make tupilaks so recognizable and valued. Furthermore, modern tupilaks often feature erect figures with skeletal motifs, possibly representing mythical figures or spirits of the dead. These motifs symbolize the connection between the spiritual and physical worlds, blending human and animal characteristics to embody the dual nature of the spirits they represent.

Significance and Collectibility

Tupilaks command high regard as collectibles, not only for their artistic value but also for their deep cultural significance. They symbolize Greenlandic heritage and the enduring legacy of Inuit craftsmanship. Consequently, collectors and enthusiasts prize tupilaks for their intricate designs, cultural narratives, and the skill required to create them.


In conclusion, Tupilak #29 by Soren Pipps exemplifies this enduring art form. Its intricate design, cultural resonance, and expert craftsmanship elevate it as a valuable piece in the world of Inuit art. As part of a long tradition of spiritual and artistic expression, tupilaks continue to fascinate and inspire, connecting us to the rich heritage of Greenlandic Inuit culture.

For more information on tupilaks and to view other pieces, visit Tribal Crafts and AbeBooks.

large three figure tupilak

Soren Pipps    Inuit

Ivory tupilak – 6 x 1.75 x 1.9”