Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas

Welcome to the Spencer Collection

  • unknown Kalaallit (Greenland Inuit) maker
  • harpoon, mid 1800s–1895
  • Where object was made: Greenland
  • wood, bone, leather, baleen, carving
  • Object Length/Width: 98.5 x 4.5 cm
    Object Length/Width: 38 3/4 x 1 3/4 in
  • Source unknown
  • Not on display
  • 2007.0564

The harpoon has a wooden shaft and bone segments on either end. The wood is notched at each end to receive a tab on each bone segment. One bone segment has a shallow hook-like tab at the end, and the rest is carved with spiralling lines. The other segment is also decorated with spiralling lines and has an bone tip inserted into the end. The tip is two stacked triangles, resulting in four barbs.

It has baleen wrapping at the joints between the wood and ivory. There is a small ivory hook at the middle of the wooden portion held on with a leather strip. There is a thin leather strip through the point and bone segment at that end and down the length of the harpoon and through the other ivory segment.