Sculpture 003

Walrus Tusk Mountain Base

A hardwood base carved by Lu Kesi for a natural fossil walrus ivory miniature mountain.

This “mountain” is the cut-off tip of a walrus tusk that has been buried in the ground in Alaska for up to thousands of years. The tusk is eventually “fossilized”—hardened but not truly a fossil—where it takes colors from the minerals buried around it. Locals dig it up and sell it to outsiders. Up until recently this was the only form of legal ivory, though now even this is illegal in most places. The rugged look of the mountain comes from the weathering process.

The artist Don Vanderpot creates jewelry and small vessels from this ivory. He donated this piece as a scrap unusable for sculpture.