Quartz. "Scenting Polar Bear".

Age: 21st century

Condition: Excellent

Size (cminches): 27 x 9 x 13


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Item information


Carved white quartz of a polar bear by the Inuit artist Bill Nasogaluak. 2018

History & Provenance

A lovely piece of tactile native Indian art from Canada. This piece is traditionally carved. The history of Indigenous art in Canada begins sometime during the last Ice Age between 80,000 and 12,000 years ago (see Prehistory). To date, however, the oldest surviving artworks (excluding finely crafted, aesthetically significant stone tools) are datable to no earlier than 5,000 years ago. Decorative and depictive carvings from the earliest periods have been found in the Lower Fraser region of British Columbia, and other pieces have been found in several parts of Canada. The development of Indigenous art in Canada is in many ways more complex than that of the relatively recent European settlers, and may be divided into three distinct periods: prehistoric art, contact or "historic" art, and contemporary Indigenous art. While historians of First Nations and Inuit art rely to a large extent upon archaeological finds in the study of the prehistoric period, the work of ethnographers, ethno-historians, and historical archaeologists who study the history and evolution of Indigenous cultures through the analysis of documents, maps, and a variety of material artifacts, is of vital importance for knowledge of historic Indigenous art. These scholars have sought to place the interpretation of the function and meaning of Indigenous artworks in the context of a broader understanding of the ways of life, aesthetic values, and principles of the peoples themselves. Ethno-historians have examined early visual sources and written documents such as maps, paintings, captains' logs, and accounts by explorers, traders and travellers. From these fragments, historians have traced the history of Indigenous peoples in Canada from initial contact to the 21st century. Historical archaeologists have excavated post- contact sites that provide a precise chronology for the interaction between Indigenous and European peoples. Historical archaeologists also give evidence of the introduction of new materials, techniques and working methods to Indigenous artists and craftspeople.

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