Bladder Dart Socketpiece and Point
Original Purchase Date: 02 / 22 / 02
Purchased From: Jeffrey R. Myers
Gallery: Jeffrey R. Myers / Primitive and Fine Arts
Gallery Address: 12 east 86th Street, New York, NY 10028, USA
Bequest of Thomas G. Fowler
Bladder darts were used by kayak hunters for capturing small seals. The bladder dart consists of a short round shaft fitted with a heavy bone or ivory socket piece at its tip, into which is fitted a barbed harpoon point whose line is fastened to the middle of the dart shaft. The socket pieces often display land or sea predators whose cunningness is engaged spiritually to enhance the hunter's success. This piece portrays a wolf, poised to strike, with gaping mouth and ferocious teeth. The point is mounted in an inset split wood plug in the mouth of the wolf, to help absorb the shock of impact. NOTE: For an almost identical example of this socket piece see “ INUA, Spirit World of the Bering Sea Eskimo,” Smithsonian, page 69.