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The base of this plug was tied to the circumference of a walrus or seal intestine with a sinew binding, thus forming a bag (the body of a seal could also be so attached). This held oil, which was used to show reverence and insure a successful hunt. It was a mechanism for prayer and respect for animals. The hole drilled from side to side was made to suspend the whole pole arrangement to a peg in the ceremonial house. The rich, dark patina may be due in part to the anointing oil. Such contact with oils, as well as the absorption of organic compounds from the permafrost, may also account for the rich patina of many ancient pieces.
depth 1.625 in ; length 3.25 in ; width 2.75 in