Tupilak #4 by Mathias Ulriksen


This stunning tupilak #4, standing at 5.5 inches high, 1 inch wide, and 1.5 inches deep, vividly showcases the skill of renowned Inuit artist Mathias Ulriksen from Kulusuk. Crafted from caribou antler, the tupilak features a smiling face with numerous teeth and a bear head on top. Priced at $325, this piece beautifully embodies the rich cultural heritage and spiritual significance of Greenlandic Inuit art.

Historical Context and Cultural Significance

Tupilaks have deep roots in Greenlandic Inuit tradition, symbolizing spiritual creatures. Historically, Inuit makers used tupilaks to cast spells on their enemies, reflecting the mystical and spiritual practices of the Inuit people. Early European visitors, fascinated by these legends, prompted the Inuit to carve tupilaks from materials like sperm whale teeth. Over the past century, artists have expanded their use of materials to include narwhal, walrus tusk, wood, and caribou antler.

Evolution and Modern Interpretations

Furthermore, modern tupilak figures often display skeletal motifs or ribs, possibly representing mythical figures or spirits of the dead. These motifs, along with depictions of spirits in human form with animal characteristics, highlight the intricate relationship between the human and spiritual worlds in Inuit beliefs. Consequently, today’s collectors highly prize tupilaks for their artistic value and cultural significance.

Collectibility and Artistic Value

Moreover, collectors seek tupilaks like Mathias Ulriksen’s creation for their unique artistry and cultural heritage. Each piece tells a story, capturing the imagination and preserving the rich traditions of the Greenlandic Inuit. The detailed craftsmanship and use of natural materials make each tupilak a one-of-a-kind work of art. Thus, collectors find a connection to the past while appreciating the present, allowing them to own a piece of history. https://www.abebooks.com/book-search/title/art-greenland-sculpture-crafts/author/kaalund-bodil/

To learn more about tupilaks and other Greenlandic Inuit art, visit Tribal Crafts and explore their extensive collection of traditional and contemporary pieces.

three figure caribou antler tupilak

Mathias Ulriksen    Inuit

Caribou antler tupilak – 5.5 x 1 x 1.5 inches