Inuit or Eskimo Atlatl Spear Thrower and Cedar Bird Dart with Ivory Tip

Item TB357  

This Item was Sold on 27 September 2015 for $1600

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This item is a very nice Inuit or Eskimo spear thrower made out of Cedar and a bird dart made out of Cedar with a large four pronged ivory tip. The spear thrower is often refered to as an atlatl. The workmanship on both pieces is excellent. This is not an ancient artifact, but it was made for actual use and not for the tourist trade. I have owned this atlatl and dart set since 1991. I acquired it from a trader and artifact collector in the Pacific North West. He claimed the atlatl and dart was made in the 1950s.

The spear thrower is right handed. There is a deep notch on one side for the insertion of a right handed thumb. The opposite side has a shallow notch with two bone or ivory pegs projecting out of the edge to support three other fingers on the right hand. The atlatl has a small ivory insert to support the base of the dart shaft in the launch position. A large axial groove spans the length between the insert and the handle. The atlatl is decorated with a red dye throughout except in two bands on the back face and inside the dart channel. The atlatl has a triangular cross section. Light scratches and wear, but still in very nice condition with most of the dye or paint present. This atlatl has a really good feel to it when you hold it in your right hand.

atlatl specs: length: 56 cm (22 in) ; handle width: 6.5 cm (2.5 in) ; max thickness: 2 cm (.8 in) ; weight: 134 gm (5 oz)

The dart is amazing. The photos cannot show all of the construction details. The dart shaft was made out of Cedar. Most of the shaft surface is painted with a red dye. There are several bands of bare wood along the length. The tip has a large (31 cm) ivory point with a gentle curve along the entire length. Both sides of the end point have dozens of small shallow barbs to insure that the spear tip holds on to its prey. The tip is made out of two pieces of ivory. One piece is the barbed spear tip. The second piece of ivory is lashed to the end of the shaft and the two ivory pieces are held together with small ivory pegs. Approximately 12 inches (31 cm) from the end of the Cedar shaft, three secondary ivory points are lashed to the shaft with cordage. Each of the three secondary ivory points have a length 18 cm and they are spaced 120 degrees apart. The inner surfaces of the secondary points are barbed to insure that wing feathers move easily only in the direction of the shaft. The secondary points have an angle of 15-20 degrees from the surface of the shaft. The workmanship is excellent. There is light wear, but no damage. A fine museum quality piece.

dart specs: length = 150 cm (59 in) ; weight = 272 gm (9.6 oz)

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