There are no original tupilaqs left at all as they were
made of natural perishable materials and cast into the sea,
they were also not intended to be seen by any other person at
When Europeans went to Greenland, they
were curious about what tupilaqs looked like, so some Inuit
carved figures using materials such as whale tooth and bone,
reindeer antler or narwhal tusk which the tourists would buy.
Some of course would sell better than others and so designs
became more fanciful and grotesque.
Picture copyright Paul Ward 2009.
Pentax digital equipment.