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11M271 Large Ainu Bear

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Item#:
11M271
Material: Wood
Age: Late Showa period (1940's-present)
H: 14.50 inches, W: 25.00 inches, D: 13.75 inches
Price: $450.00
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Product Description

This is a rare large Ainu artisan hand carved wooden bear carving. The Ainu are an indigenous people of northern Japan living and practicing their art and culture on the island of Hokkaido.

Being expert carvers as part of their way of life, it was a natural choice for them to supplement their livelihood by carving images of bears from wood. In the early part of the 20th century, the Ainu were forced to relocate to Hokkaido to cultivate the land and become farmers.  Due to the harsh winter conditions, they found it difficult in doing this and instead kept their way of life hunting and gathering. 

The bear was a big part of their life providing food and clothing for their basic needs.  The Ainu have always worshiped the bear as a diety which resulted in a perfect match of carving their image to honor them.  This started their artisan craft line of sculptures that began around the later 1940's just after the war and it has become an important part of their survival as a people. There are some splits.