Example of Inupiaq basketry

The Inupiaq people (sometimes known as Eskimos) live along the extreme north shore of Alaska. They are whaling people and they use materials acquired from whales for some of their basketry. Baleen baskets are made of the flexible material found in the mouths of some whales, used to strain their food from the water. Thin strips of baleen are cut and attached to ivory disks at the start. A coiling method is used to sew baleen bands together, ending with a carved ivory knob on the handle. Because the carving of ivory and splitting of baleen has traditionally been done by men, most baleen baskets are made by men today. The making of baleen baskets has only been done since the beginning of the 1900s, made for sale to tourists, and so is one of the youngest basketry traditions in North America.

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