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Canadian & Inuit Sculptures

Sculptures from Native Canadian artists have been found as early as 600 B.C., with early sculptures depicting birds, human faces, and small masks. They are believed to have had a ritualistic purpose of warding off evil spirits. In the Dorset culture, Native Canadian artists sculpted walrus ivory, caribou antler, and soft stones.

The Thule people, who replaced the Dorset around 1000 A.D., favored a more utilitarian sculpture. Much of their sculpture focused on decorating objects such as buttons and harpoons. This changed in the 1500s after Western contact when the Inuit began to trade with Western whalers. Artists began to produce artwork specifically for a more commercial western audience. This change was later reinforced by the Canadian government, which sought to promote native arts as a source of stable income for Inuit communities.

Today, Inuit sculptures are typically carved in soapstone for decorative purposes. Animal materials are still used on occasion, and these sculptures are considered more rare and valuable.


Quick Facts

  • The Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Quebec houses one of the largest collections of Canadian sculptures. Founded in 1856, it is one of North America'’s oldest artistic institutions
  • The First People's Hall, one of three main installations within the Canadian Museum of History, chronicles 20,000 years of native history
  • 20th-century Inuit sculptor John Pangnark has exhibited pieces worldwide. His sculptures focus on incorporating formal elements of modern geometrical abstraction

Recommended Items at Auction

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Alaskan Inuit Eskimo Carved Walrus
Mar 02, 9:00 AM MST
Alaskan Inuit Eskimo Carved Walrus
by Davis Brothers Auction
Est: $50- $75
$203 Bids
Inuit Soapstone Sculpture Seal Hunting Scene
Mar 01, 8:00 AM MST
Inuit Soapstone Sculpture Seal Hunting Scene
by Artemis Gallery
Est: $600- $900
$3502 Bids
Lewis Immingan Inuit Eskimo Carving
Mar 03, 9:00 AM MST
Lewis Immingan Inuit Eskimo Carving
by Davis Brothers Auction
Est: $100- $150
$101 Bid
Alaskan Inuit Eskimo Carved Yak
Mar 03, 9:00 AM MST
Alaskan Inuit Eskimo Carved Yak
by Davis Brothers Auction
Est: $50- $75
$101 Bid
Alaskan Inuit Eskimo Carved Yak
Mar 03, 9:00 AM MST
Alaskan Inuit Eskimo Carved Yak
by Davis Brothers Auction
Est: $50- $75
$101 Bid
Alaskan Inuit Eskimo Carved Yak
Mar 03, 9:00 AM MST
Alaskan Inuit Eskimo Carved Yak
by Davis Brothers Auction
Est: $50- $75
$101 Bid
Tim Pee Inuit Soapstone Polar Bear Sculpture
Mar 17, 12:00 PM EDT
Tim Pee Inuit Soapstone Polar Bear Sculpture
by Auctions at Showplace
Est: $400- $600
$1001 Bid
TWO INUIT CAVINGS, MANNUMI SHAQU, AND OTHER.
Mar 06, 10:00 AM EST
TWO INUIT CAVINGS, MANNUMI SHAQU, AND OTHER.
by William Smith Auctions
Est: $300- $500
$1501 Bid
FOUR INUIT SOAPSTONE CARVINGS
Mar 09, 10:00 AM EST
FOUR INUIT SOAPSTONE CARVINGS
by Casco Bay Auctions
Est: $100- $300
$500 Bids
THREE INUIT SOAPSTONE CARVINGS
Mar 09, 10:00 AM EST
THREE INUIT SOAPSTONE CARVINGS
by Casco Bay Auctions
Est: $100- $300
$500 Bids
LARGE INUIT SOAPSTONE CARVING OF A HUNTER AND BEAR
Mar 09, 10:00 AM EST
LARGE INUIT SOAPSTONE CARVING OF A HUNTER AND BEAR
by Casco Bay Auctions
Est: $200- $300
$1000 Bids
INUIT CARVED SOAPSTONE LOON
Mar 09, 10:00 AM EST
INUIT CARVED SOAPSTONE LOON
by Casco Bay Auctions
Est: $60- $200
$300 Bids
AN INUIT ANTLER CARVING, PROBABLY EARLY 20TH CENTURY
Mar 05, 10:30 AM GMT
AN INUIT ANTLER CARVING, PROBABLY EARLY 20TH CENTURY
by Dreweatts 1759 Fine Sales
Est: £200- £300
£1500 Bids
Alaskan Inuit Eskimo Red Throated Loon Carving
Mar 03, 9:00 AM MST
Alaskan Inuit Eskimo Red Throated Loon Carving
by Davis Brothers Auction
Est: $25- $50
$100 Bids
John Penetac Alaskan Inuit Eskimo Puffin Carving
Mar 03, 9:00 AM MST
John Penetac Alaskan Inuit Eskimo Puffin Carving
by Davis Brothers Auction
Est: $75- $125
$100 Bids
First Nations Inuit Soapstone Figure Carving
Mar 01, 8:00 AM MST
First Nations Inuit Soapstone Figure Carving
by Artemis Gallery
Est: $500- $750
$2500 Bids
Group of 3 Inuit Stone Carvings - 2 Seals + Owl
Mar 01, 8:00 AM MST
Group of 3 Inuit Stone Carvings - 2 Seals + Owl
by Artemis Gallery
Est: $500- $750
$2500 Bids
Alaskan Inuit Eskimo Penguin Carving
Mar 03, 9:00 AM MST
Alaskan Inuit Eskimo Penguin Carving
by Davis Brothers Auction
Est: $50- $75
$100 Bids
INUIT WALRUS TUSK IVORY CANADIAN GOOSE FIGURE
Mar 15, 9:00 AM EDT
INUIT WALRUS TUSK IVORY CANADIAN GOOSE FIGURE
by Affiliated Auctions & Realty LLC
Est: $200- $300
$500 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Canadian & Inuit Sculptures


Davis Brothers Auction

Davis Brothers Auction

Casco Bay Auctions

Casco Bay Auctions

Artemis Gallery

Artemis Gallery

William Smith Auctions

William Smith Auctions