This early stonecut is a masterpiece of compression. At first glance, it depicts whales swimming in a cove. But the figures along the shore in the rear of the picture tell the story of Lumiuk and the whales. Lumiuk was a blind boy who was abused by his mother. One day, his mother positioned him in front of an opening in their igloo, and told him to shoot the bear that was outside. Lumiuk did so, but his mother told him that he had missed. She then kept all the bear meat for herself, giving Lumiuk only scraps. Lumiuk went down to the shore, where a loon was able to restore his sight. Lumiuk returned to the igloo, and told his mother to accompany him to the shore so that he could hunt whales. Lumiuk told his mother to secure the harpoon line around her waist, so that a harpooned whale would not be able to escape. In fact, when Lumiuk harpooned a whale, it dragged his mother to her death, as Lumiuk intended.
Kiakshuk | Lumiuk and the whales, Ed. proof | | Alaska on Madison
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