This piece is made of fossilized walrus ivory and features a black bear. It is etched using the traditional art form called scrimshaw, the decoration of bone or ivory objects, by Alaskan artist Dennis Sims of Houston, Alaska. It is about 2.5″ tall and 2″ wide.
Scrimshaw was originally carved or engraved articles made by American whalers usually from baleen or whale teeth and bone. Native Alaskans have been using bone and ivory from walrus, mammoth and other animals for thousands of years as tools, utensils, weapons, and even armor. Today Alaskan artists use these same raw materials in their carvings and other scrimshaw artwork.