Vintage Cribbage Board with Dog Sled Team, Siberian Yup'ik
Vintage Cribbage Board with Dog Sled Team, c. 1960 Siberian Yupik, St. Lawrence Island, Alaska walrus ivory figures on walrus tusk, scrimshaw designs
3” high x 19” long x 2” deep note: snout missing from one dog
The Yup'ik people of Alaska have been engraving realistic images on walrus ivory for a thousand years, most of that time on bow drills made for their own use. But when gold was discovered on the beaches of Nome in 1898 and the town was engulfed by gold seekers—40,000 by 1900—a market developed for Alaskan souvenirs. Native artists quickly adapted their traditional skills to meet the demand.
Cribbage boards made from walrus tusks and engraved with images of animals, hunters, and other scenes of everyday life became extremely popular and were eagerly purchased as mementos of an Arctic adventure. This particular cribbage board is a rare example of the use of a three-dimensional scene carved and attached to the tusk, in this case an extremely intricate carved dog sled team.