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Toggle in the Form of a Human Figure

Culture Inupiat
Culture Yupik
Title Toggle in the Form of a Human Figure
Date 19th century
Medium Sperm whale ivory
Dimensions Mount: 1/4 × 1 1/8 × 1 1/8 in. (0.6 × 2.9 × 2.9 cm)
Object: 1 3/4 × 9/16 × 11/16 in. (4.4 × 1.4 × 1.7 cm)
Overall (includes mount): 2 × 1 1/8 × 1 1/8 in. (5.1 × 2.9 × 2.9 cm)
Credit Line Raymond and Laura Wielgus Collection, Eskenazi Museum of Art, Indiana University
Accession Number 2010.37

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About this Work

The hole through this object and wear patterns around it indicate that it was a toggle, a device used to fasten garments or bags together by means of a double cord that passed through the holes. Miniature figures of people and animals are common and may relate to a belief that the soul of any creature, whether animal or human, is a miniature version of that creature and resides in its bladder.

Provenance research is ongoing for this and many other items in the Eskenazi Museum of Art permanent collection. For more information about the provenance of this artwork, please contact the department curator with specific questions.

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"Toggle in the Form of a Human Figure | Collections Online." Collections Online. Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Indiana University, 2024.