Masks of the World

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Eskimo sun glasses

Alaska

Alaska

Q:  These antique whale bone/scrimshaw goggles came from the Aleutian Islands near Alaska.  Would you have any idea the approximate age of these goggles?  How valuable would these be?  PJ, 873

A:  Indigenous people in the extreme Northern parts of the world have always carved goggles out of wood or bone with thin slits for eye holes.  These handmade devices function quite well in protecting the eyes from the bright sun rays reflecting off the white snow and ice. I show a pair from a different part of Alaska on page 92 of my new book, Masks of the World. (It is in the chapter titled “Native American,” but it could have been listed in a later chapter called “Protection & Protest.”  I am especially impressed by the handsome shape and simplified decoration utilized in your example.  It is a wonderful little carving that would look great on the wearer… and on a collector’s wall. Sorry, we cannot do appraisals on this blog.  A

Categories:   Native America, Protection

Comments

  • Posted: January 2, 2016 18:49

    Bob Ibold

    PJ sent in the following... The Eskimo sun glasses have the most wonderful feel and balance to them and measure 16.5cm across. I have been told by the seller they came out of the E. Foch estate in Shiner, Texas. When Mr.Foch was a G.I., stationed in the Eluetion Islands during WWII, he found these and brought them back home. I am told by the seller they date 1750 - 1800 though I'm not sure of the correctness of those dates. They are very old just the same - possibly older.