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Peoples of Russia: Exhibition "Art of Bone Carving of Chukchi Craftsmen in the 1930s - 1950s" opened in Saint-Petersburg

12 January 2021

The Russian Ethnographic Museum opened the exhibition "Art of Bone Carving of Chukchi Craftsmen in the 1930s - 1950s", which will run until January 31, 2021. It is the first event in a series of small exhibitions devoted to arts and crafts of the Siberian Arctic peoples. The exposition "Arctic - an Inhabited Land" presents rarely exhibited items. They introduce to the world of Arctic hunters and reindeer breeders of Chukotka- the first Russian region which meets the sunrise.

Carving of walrus tusks and bones of marine animals is an ancient craft. At the turn of the first century BC - first century AD, early hunters carved walrus bones to create tools and utensils, as well as figurines of sacred game animals. The tradition of creating animalistic sculptures had been alive at the beginning of the XX century.

In the 1930s – 1950s, significant changes took place in the art of bone carving. The creation of a Uelen workshop in 1931, played a significant role in joining the two art schools (Dezhnevskaya and Uelenskaya) and the development of bone carving in Chukotka. Along with the old traditions, the Chukchi art acquired new ideas and features. New technology in work with bones of marine animals on a turning lathe gave the craftsmen new opportunities in creating more vivid figurines and sculptural compositions.

The presented exhibits are part of an extensive collection of authentic bone carving items by Chukchi craftsmen. It is the result of an activity of the famous ethnologist and public figure Valery Alexandrovich Tishkov.