The Soapstone Man

After my Dad’s house was sold we each took some mementos. One that I took was an Inuit soapstone carving that my parents were given for Christmas circa 1971. He was in good shape with no chipping or cracking but I guess my Dad forgot that you can oil soapstone to keep it looking shiny and bring out the colours in the stone.

This was carved in Povungnituk, which is an Inuit settlement in the northern Nunavik area of Quebec. I find it hard to read the signature, and some bits of felt have been glued on the base of the carving to protect furniture from being scraped by the stone, so I’m not sure if I can get discernible markings.

When it arrived here I cleaned him to get rid of any lingering dust, and then I gave him a rub and polish with some canola oil. Some people use mineral oil on soapstone but I didn’t have any and I find it very heavy anyway.


I would love to know who carved him, so I might try to photograph what markings I can and write to someone online and see if they know who the artist is.



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2 Responses to The Soapstone Man

  1. I have a very similar soapstone carving of an Inuit hunter, it is signed with the name “ISAH” and I believe that the artist is Isah Papialuk. My story is the same as yours, this is a small memento from my father’s estate. He received it as a gift in the mid-60s. If you message me I will send you some photos.

    • JJ ColourArt says:

      That is neat, I imagine that there are many of these around but each one’s special, so I feel lucky and I look at him every day in my living room.

      I am going to be offline for a time but thanks for the offer of pictures.

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