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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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Inuit Dancing Bear Moeesee Petooloosie Cape Dorset
Apr 20, 11:00 AM EDT
Inuit Dancing Bear Moeesee Petooloosie Cape Dorset
by Kavanagh Auctions
Est: $40- $15,000
$2755 Bids
SIMEONE KILLEE, INUIT STONE CARVED MUSK OX, 3 1/8 x 6 1/4 in. (7.9 x 15.9 cm.)
Apr 24, 1:00 PM EDT
SIMEONE KILLEE, INUIT STONE CARVED MUSK OX, 3 1/8 x 6 1/4 in. (7.9 x 15.9 cm.)
by Potomack Company
Est: $125- $200
$802 Bids
Signed Haida Inuit Canada Eskimo Art Carving
Apr 21, 9:00 AM MST
Signed Haida Inuit Canada Eskimo Art Carving
by Monarch Auction and Estate Services
Est: $0- $0
$102 Bids
SAMWILLIE NIVIAXIE - Untitled
Apr 28, 1:00 PM CST
SAMWILLIE NIVIAXIE - Untitled
by Saskatchewan Network for Art Collecting
Est: $90- $120
$482 Bids
Canadian Inuit Soapstone Carving Polar Bear Seal
Apr 20, 11:00 AM EDT
Canadian Inuit Soapstone Carving Polar Bear Seal
by Kavanagh Auctions
Est: $40- $15,000
$401 Bid
Pinnie Nuktialuk Inuit Soapstone Otter Eating Fish
Apr 20, 11:00 AM EDT
Pinnie Nuktialuk Inuit Soapstone Otter Eating Fish
by Kavanagh Auctions
Est: $40- $15,000
$401 Bid
9 CARVED INUIT PIECES
Apr 21, 11:00 AM EDT
9 CARVED INUIT PIECES
by Americana Auctions
Est: $300- $500
$1501 Bid
1950s Inuit Soapstone / Woman with Seal
Apr 20, 11:00 AM EDT
1950s Inuit Soapstone / Woman with Seal
by Kavanagh Auctions
Est: $40- $15,000
$401 Bid
Inuit Carved Soapstone Figural Group
Apr 20, 10:00 AM EDT
Inuit Carved Soapstone Figural Group
by Devin Moisan Auctioneers, Inc.
Est: $400- $600
$2000 Bids
Inuit Carved Soapstone Group of an Eskimo & Walrus
Apr 20, 10:00 AM EDT
Inuit Carved Soapstone Group of an Eskimo & Walrus
by Devin Moisan Auctioneers, Inc.
Est: $400- $600
$2000 Bids
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THREE INUIT CARVINGS Last Half of the 20th Century
Apr 24, 9:30 AM EDT
THREE INUIT CARVINGS Last Half of the 20th Century
by Eldred's
Est: $400- $600
$2000 Bids
Salasiapick - Inuit Carved Soapstone Figural Group
Apr 20, 10:00 AM EDT
Salasiapick - Inuit Carved Soapstone Figural Group
by Devin Moisan Auctioneers, Inc.
Est: $200- $400
$1000 Bids
INUIT BONE DOG SLED & 3 FIGURES
Apr 21, 11:00 AM EDT
INUIT BONE DOG SLED & 3 FIGURES
by Americana Auctions
Est: $300- $500
$1500 Bids
3 CARVED INUIT ITEMS
Apr 21, 11:00 AM EDT
3 CARVED INUIT ITEMS
by Americana Auctions
Est: $400- $600
$2000 Bids
Inuit Carved Soapstone Figure & a Figural Group
Apr 20, 10:00 AM EDT
Inuit Carved Soapstone Figure & a Figural Group
by Devin Moisan Auctioneers, Inc.
Est: $150- $250
$700 Bids
MARK TOTAN - Howling Wolf
Apr 28, 1:00 PM CST
MARK TOTAN - Howling Wolf
by Saskatchewan Network for Art Collecting
Est: $300- $350
$1300 Bids
MARK TOTAN - Owl
Apr 28, 1:00 PM CST
MARK TOTAN - Owl
by Saskatchewan Network for Art Collecting
Est: $400- $600
$2000 Bids
MARK TOTAN - Diving Bear
Apr 28, 1:00 PM CST
MARK TOTAN - Diving Bear
by Saskatchewan Network for Art Collecting
Est: $400- $550
$1800 Bids
MARK TOTAN - Turning Bear
Apr 28, 1:00 PM CST
MARK TOTAN - Turning Bear
by Saskatchewan Network for Art Collecting
Est: $1,500- $1,800
$6500 Bids
MARK TOTAN - Bear in Serpentine
Apr 28, 1:00 PM CST
MARK TOTAN - Bear in Serpentine
by Saskatchewan Network for Art Collecting
Est: $1,200- $1,400
$5800 Bids
ALASKAN INUIT-CARVED WHALE BONE (Early 20th c)
May 11, 11:00 AM EDT
ALASKAN INUIT-CARVED WHALE BONE (Early 20th c)
by John McInnis Auctioneers
Est: $100- $300
$500 Bids
MARK TOTAN - Bear
Apr 28, 1:00 PM CST
MARK TOTAN - Bear
by Saskatchewan Network for Art Collecting
Est: $600- $750
$2800 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Canadian & Inuit Sculptures


Saskatchewan Network for Art Collecting

Saskatchewan Network for Art Collecting

Americana Auctions

Americana Auctions

Kavanagh Auctions

Kavanagh Auctions

Clars Auctions

Clars Auctions