Eskimo Bird Bolas

This web page shows a really nice Eskimo bola that was used to capture birds by prehistoric Native Americans. It were thrown into a flock of birds and the cords would entangle several of them at a time. This bola were collected at the end of the 19th century and may be much older than that. The bola was displayed in the Tom Pike Museum in Ohio for many years. It was purchased in 2004 from a collector in Northern Indiana. This relic consist of 7 weights, 3 of which are carved bone and 4 of which are of carved fossil walrus Ivory. All of the weights are very nicely made and are polished. All have a hole drilled in the top to fasten the cords. The weights are about the same size with the smallest being 2.25 inches long and the largest being 2.5 inches long. The weights vary in weight from 8 to 15 grams. The fossil ivory has a really nice creamy brown color and a great patina. The cordage is made of braided sinew. This is possibly caribou sinew. Sinew was used by Native Americans for thread and braided cordage before the availability of modern string, At the end of the bola where you would hold it while whirling and throwing is attached a group of old feathers, They may be ptarmigan feathers. The overall length is 28 inches. This item has been well protected in a museum display case and is in remarkably good shape.


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