Wooden Whale

Part of Hall of Asian Peoples.

A small whale carved of wood with several other carved figurines of assorted fish.

This small carved wood whale was collected in Siberia in 1901 by Russian ethnographer Waldemar Jochelson for the Museum’s Jesup North Pacific Expedition.

While conducting field work, Jochelson witnessed a Koryak ceremony, in which a similar figurine was used as a charm and whale body parts were “sent home to the sea” to encourage other whales to return.