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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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Vintage Carved Soapstone Inuit Fisherman Sculpture
Oct 30, 10:00 AM MST
Vintage Carved Soapstone Inuit Fisherman Sculpture
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$202 Bids
LUCY TUTSWEETOK (INUIT, 1934-2021) STONE SCULPTURE, 1990, H 9", W 6.5", "MOUNTAIN"
Nov 11, 11:00 AM EST
LUCY TUTSWEETOK (INUIT, 1934-2021) STONE SCULPTURE, 1990, H 9", W 6.5", "MOUNTAIN"
by DuMouchelles
Est: $200- $400
$1001 Bid
An Inuit Carved Serpentinite Sea Beast Spirit Figure Cape Dorset c. 1964
Nov 03, 6:00 PM AEDT
An Inuit Carved Serpentinite Sea Beast Spirit Figure Cape Dorset c. 1964
by Theodore Bruce
Est: AUD200- AUD400
AUD1001 Bid
ANTIQUE ESKIMO INUIT CARVED WALRUS BIRD
Nov 06, 9:00 AM MDT
ANTIQUE ESKIMO INUIT CARVED WALRUS BIRD
by Davis Brothers Auction
Est: $100- $150
$101 Bid
Taqialuq Nuna (Inuit, b. 1958) Soapstone Sculpture, Polar Bear Family
Nov 04, 10:00 AM MDT
Taqialuq Nuna (Inuit, b. 1958) Soapstone Sculpture, Polar Bear Family
by Hindman
Est: $800- $1,200
$4001 Bid
Polar bear and walrus, probably I
Nov 05, 10:00 AM CET
Polar bear and walrus, probably I
by Historia Auktionshaus
Est: €0- €0
€800 Bids
Morris Alorut Carved Stone Bear Figure
Oct 30, 10:00 AM EDT
Morris Alorut Carved Stone Bear Figure
by Neue Auctions
Est: $150- $300
$750 Bids
CA. 1900 GREENLANDIC INUIT UMIAK WITH ROWERS.
Nov 13, 10:00 AM EST
CA. 1900 GREENLANDIC INUIT UMIAK WITH ROWERS.
by Marion Antique Auctions
Est: $600- $800
$3000 Bids
INUIT STONE CARVING DEPICTING A MAN STANDING OVER
Nov 13, 10:00 AM EST
INUIT STONE CARVING DEPICTING A MAN STANDING OVER
by Marion Antique Auctions
Est: $300- $400
$1500 Bids
INUIT AND ESKIMO DOLLS.
Nov 04, 3:00 PM EDT
INUIT AND ESKIMO DOLLS.
by Quinn's Auction Galleries
Est: $100- $200
$500 Bids
INUIT WHALE VERTEBRAE CARVING, 20TH CENTURY.
Nov 04, 3:00 PM EDT
INUIT WHALE VERTEBRAE CARVING, 20TH CENTURY.
by Quinn's Auction Galleries
Est: $300- $500
$1500 Bids
Group of 7 Inuit Soapstone Sculptures w/ Kayak
Nov 03, 10:00 AM CDT
Group of 7 Inuit Soapstone Sculptures w/ Kayak
by Revere Auctions
Est: $200- $400
$1000 Bids
Group of 8 Inuit Soapstone Birds & Turtle
Nov 03, 10:00 AM CDT
Group of 8 Inuit Soapstone Birds & Turtle
by Revere Auctions
Est: $200- $400
$1000 Bids
Group of 6 Inuit Soapstone Sculptures Figures
Nov 03, 10:00 AM CDT
Group of 6 Inuit Soapstone Sculptures Figures
by Revere Auctions
Est: $400- $600
$2000 Bids
An Inuit Style Statue
Oct 30, 1:00 PM EDT
An Inuit Style Statue
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $125- $1,250
$1250 Bids
INUIT ESKIMO SOAPSTONE SCULPTURE E SIGNED ID
Nov 17, 9:00 AM EST
INUIT ESKIMO SOAPSTONE SCULPTURE E SIGNED ID
by Affiliated Auctions & Realty LLC
Est: $50- $100
$100 Bids
ANTIQUE ESKIMO INUIT CARVED WALRUS SEAL HUNTER
Nov 06, 9:00 AM MDT
ANTIQUE ESKIMO INUIT CARVED WALRUS SEAL HUNTER
by Davis Brothers Auction
Est: $100- $150
$100 Bids
ALASKAN ESKIMO INUIT CARVED BEAR
Nov 06, 9:00 AM MDT
ALASKAN ESKIMO INUIT CARVED BEAR
by Davis Brothers Auction
Est: $25- $50
$100 Bids
ALASKAN ESKIMO INUIT CARVED BEAR
Nov 06, 9:00 AM MDT
ALASKAN ESKIMO INUIT CARVED BEAR
by Davis Brothers Auction
Est: $25- $50
$100 Bids
ALASKAN INUIT ESKIMO SOAPSTONE CARVING
Nov 06, 9:00 AM MDT
ALASKAN INUIT ESKIMO SOAPSTONE CARVING
by Davis Brothers Auction
Est: $75- $125
$100 Bids
Inuit Dancing Bear
Nov 07, 5:00 PM PDT
Inuit Dancing Bear
by Simrit Collection
Est: $750- $775
$3750 Bids
Inuit Dancing Bear
Nov 07, 5:00 PM PDT
Inuit Dancing Bear
by Simrit Collection
Est: $750- $950
$3750 Bids
Inuit Bear Cubs Dancing Pair
Nov 07, 5:00 PM PDT
Inuit Bear Cubs Dancing Pair
by Simrit Collection
Est: $750- $950
$3750 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Canadian & Inuit Sculptures


Davis Brothers Auction

Davis Brothers Auction

Simrit Collection

Simrit Collection

Revere Auctions

Revere Auctions

Quinn's Auction Galleries

Quinn's Auction Galleries