Owl Spirit Man
early 20th c.
14.25" x 9.5" x 2.5"
Sculpture, Green serpentine
Region: Arctic
Culture: Inuit
Three prominent animals in Inuit society are the owl, fish and raven. Each of these animals is unique for its purpose in society as well as for the legends told about it. Owls, who withstand the coldest Arctic conditions, are viewed as a source of guidance and assistance. Different owl species are connected with different stories. For example, according to Inuit tradition, the short-eared owl was once a young girl who was magically transformed into an owl with a long beak. But the owl became frightened and flew into the side of a house, flattening its face and beak. The Inuit also called the Boreal owl the “blind one,” because of its tameness during daylight.