Light harpoon for hunting harbor seals. Kodiak Eskimos. USA , Russian America. North America, The North-West of the continent, Alaska, Kodiak Island.

Light harpoon for hunting harbor seals
Collection MAE RAS: № 2888-51
Image ID: 3528430
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Museum inventory number:
№ 2888-51
Title:
Light harpoon for hunting harbor seals
Ethnicity:
Kodiak Eskimos
Place:
USA , Russian America
Geography:
North America, The North-West of the continent, Alaska, Kodiak Island
Collector:
Vasiliev Mikhail Nikolaevich, mariner, captain of "Otkrytiye" shallop
Materials:
wood, paint, ivory, seal sinew, bald eagle feather, caribou antler
Dimensions:
length 128.5 cm, length from the top of the shaft to the wrapping 12.7 cm, length of the peg with the point 16 cm, length of the point 7.2 cm, diameter at the top of the shaft 2.1 cm, diameter of the shaft 1.7 cm
Commentation:
Harpoon No. 2888—51 is the only example in the Museum’s whole collection of light toggling Alutiiq harpoons which includes a shaft, shaft top, peg and toggling separating point. The point of a toggling harpoon is not secured to a peg but only sits on it. It has a slanted edge carved on its lower part. After it hits a sea animal the point penetrates its skin and goes into a thick layer of fat from which it can easily be removed. In order that this does not happen, they used a toggling point joined by a long cord to a harpoon shaft or a float made from an animal bladder. After an animal is wounded they make a sharp jerk that, due to its special construction, enables the point of the harpoon to turn within the body and assume a horizontal position from which it cannot be dislodged. From the position of the float or the harpoon shaft floating on the surface of the water, the hunter would determine where the animal would resurface and finish it off.
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