North America

Necklace and earrings

Eskimo, Gulf of Alaska

Glass beads, shells, hide

19th century
Height of the necklace : 9 in. (23 cm)
Height of the earrings: 5 ½ in. (14 cm)

Ex collection George Terasaki, New York

Price : on request

America - Alaska
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Earrings and necklaces such as these were worn by women of the Kenai Peninsula in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Eskimo peoples of the Pacific coast (Gulf of Alaska) were, along with the Aleut, among the earliest peoples of the region to participate in the fur trade. Consequently, they were exposed at a relatively early date to trade materials.
These ornaments are made largely of exotic materials: the beads originated in Venice, the dentalium shells in Puget Sound. Only the leather, sinew, and marine ivory hooks are of indigenous origin. The display of such ornaments added to the prestige of the wearer.
These delicate ornaments formerly belonged to George Terasaki (1931-2010), a passionate New York collector and prominent dealer in the ancient arts of North America.