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Bladder Dart Socketpiece and Point
Bladder Dart Socketpiece and Point
Date:
ca. 1880
Location:
Not on display
Century:
Media:
Walrus Bone (oosik), Ivory
Dimensions:
1/2 x 2 1/2 x 1/4 in.
Object Type:
Country:
Continent:
North America
Culture/People:
Eskimo
Accession Number:
2007.21.163
Acquisition Date:
2007-06-21
Credit Line:

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.