This beautiful baleen basket with polar bear ivory finial is woven from black whale baleen. It is about 3 inches across and 3 inches tall. There is a carved polar bear finial on the top made from white walrus ivory. There is an ivory center in the bottom, this basket is made by Native Alaskan artist Adam Tooyak.
Baleen baskets are extremely difficult to weave and are very collectible. The baskets are made of the flexible material found in the mouths of some whales, used to strain their food from the water. The baleen is stripped, soaked in water, and then woven. Thin strips of baleen are cut and attached to walrus ivory disks at the start. A coiling method is used to sew baleen bands together, ending with a carved ivory finial on the handle. Only Alaskan Natives are allowed to harvest and use baleen.