This piece is made of fossilized walrus ivory and features a polar 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 just over 1″ tall and about 5″ 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.