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New Year Greeting

New Year Greeting

Attributed to Happy Jack (born Angokwazhuk) (Inupiaq, b. Alaska, c. 1870-1918)
Nome, Alaska, United States, 1910
  • Walrus tusk: engraved; gold inset
  • Height: 10 in. (25.4 cm) Diameter: 1 in. (2.5 cm)
  • The Jewish Museum, New York
  • Gift of the Kanofsky Family in memory of Minnie Kanofsky, 1984-71
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New Year Greeting

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CLOSE LOOKING / VISUAL ANALYSIS:

  • Describe the images and writing you see on this object. Look closely at the shape, color, and apparent texture of the object. Where do you think the object is from? What do you think it is made of? What do you think it was used for?

  • Notice the way the people are depicted. How would you describe the figures on the object?

  • When do you think this object was created? Why?

  • How do you think this object was made?




FOR FURTHER DISCUSSION:

After giving students ample opportunity to examine the New Year's greeting, lead them in a discussion of related topics and themes:

  • Does anything surprise you about this object?

  • How is the Alaskan New Year's greeting similar to or different from other New Year's greetings you have seen?

  • Jewish New Year's greetings are generally printed on paper, instead of being inscribed on walrus tusk. Why do you think the couple depicted on the tusk--presumably the senders of the "greeting"--chose a tusk instead of a card as the bearer of their greeting?

  • What different kinds of New Years can you think of (for example, Rosh Hashanah, January 1, the beginning of the school year, one's birthday)? How is each one marked or celebrated? Why are there so many different kinds of New Year?

  • The Jewish New Year is an opportunity to think about any mistakes made in the past and about goals for the coming year. What goals do you have for the coming year?