Eskimo art. The art of the Eskimo peoples arose some 2,000 years ago in the Bering Sea area and in Canada. Traditional art consisted of small utilitarian objects, such as weapons and tools, as well as diminutive animals, carved and incised in walrus ivory, bone, and stone. The subjects of Eskimo art reflected their lives as hunters and fishermen, as well as their extensive mythology. Carved and painted wooden masks of the 19th cent. were used in various rituals. Modern Eskimo art dates from the late 1940s, when Canadians encouraged the development of art by native artisans working in traditional modes. Contemporary Eskimo art consists mainly of carved figures in smooth soapstone, ivory, and rough-surfaced whalebone, and lithographs printed with local stone that simplify and abstract the forms of the Eskimo hunters and their quarry.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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