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  • February 23, 2021

Photo courtesy of Mads Pihl – Visit Greenland

The Greenlandic Tupilak

The Tupilak, a figure carved from tooth, bone or stone, was originally used as a talisman to protect the owner against attack or enact revenge against an enemy. The term ‘tupilak’ refers to the soul or spirit of an ancestor.

The carved figure, imbued with a spirit, was tossed to sea so that it could hunt down and kill an enemy. If that enemy was stronger in witchcraft, he could always send the tupilak back to kill its creator. These days, sculptors create the figures as works of art.

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