The Canada Auction Series: Inuit Art

Auction begins to close:
June 01, 2023 at 7:00 pm ET

Online Auction
LOT 114

Lot 114

David Ruben Piqtoukun ᑎᕕᑎ ᐱᑐᑯ ᕈᐱᐃᓐ (b. 1950)

David Ruben Piqtoukun ᑎᕕᑎ ᐱᑐᑯ ᕈᐱᐃᓐ (b. 1950)
Lot 114 Details
David Ruben Piqtoukun ᑎᕕᑎ ᐱᑐᑯ ᕈᐱᐃᓐ (b. 1950), Paulatuk


signed in Roman; dated 1986
9 x 19 x 9.25 in — 22.9 x 48.3 x 23.5 cm

Estimate $3,000-$5,000

Realised: $9,225
Price Includes Buyer's Premium ?

Lot Report

Additional Images
David Ruben Piqtoukun ᑎᕕᑎ ᐱᑐᑯ ᕈᐱᐃᓐ (b. 1950)
  • David Ruben Piqtoukun ᑎᕕᑎ ᐱᑐᑯ ᕈᐱᐃᓐ (b. 1950)
  • David Ruben Piqtoukun ᑎᕕᑎ ᐱᑐᑯ ᕈᐱᐃᓐ (b. 1950)
  • David Ruben Piqtoukun ᑎᕕᑎ ᐱᑐᑯ ᕈᐱᐃᓐ (b. 1950)
  • David Ruben Piqtoukun ᑎᕕᑎ ᐱᑐᑯ ᕈᐱᐃᓐ (b. 1950)

Esther Atkin Ruben Collection, Toronto, ON;
Private Collection, Toronto, ON


Piqtoukun, David Ruben, Tom Skudra, The Storytellers (Toronto: The Koffler Gallery, 1988)


Piqtoukun often depicts Shamans as well as Sedna, the Mother of the Sea, in Inuit mythology. This Sedna’s face is marked by tunniit (ᑐᓃᑦ), the traditional facial tattoos worn by Inuit women which denote the individual’s transition to womanhood. Emily Henderson, writing about one of Piqtoukun’s Sednas in the collection of the Art Gallery of Ontario, explains that “her hands, at first glance, appear like flippers, but on closer inspection, it becomes clear they are the hands of a woman, with her fingers severed at the knuckle. The moment when Sedna’s fingers are cut is a key moment in the story of her birth into a goddess. While there are many regional variations on the story, we know from oral tradition that Sedna’s fingers were cut off as she clung to the side of a boat and later fell into the water. Once in the water, she transformed into the sea mammals, and made herself a new home at the bottom of the sea…The story continues that, without her fingers, Sedna could not comb and braid her hair. She relied on Shamans to make the trip down to the bottom of the sea to help her.”

Of this particular Sedna, Piqtoukun tells the story:

“Two brothers had set out on a caribou hunt. After several days they had not returned, so search parties were sent to check the coast line and trace the movements of the brothers. The searchers found one body on a sandspit bar. The other body was never found. In a ceremony one day; Sedna, who lives at the bottom of the sea, was summoned and asked to search for the missing brother. Sedna is always available, and is generous when summoned. Her face shows patience and compassion.”


Overall very good condition. Minor surface abrasions, tight check to left side of face, slight discolouration to underside of chin.

Please contact the specialist for further condition information.

LOT 114

About Condition Ratings

  • 5 Stars: Excellent - No discernable damage, flaws or imperfections
  • 4 Stars: Very Good - Minor flaws or imperfections visible only under close inspection using specialised instruments or black light
  • 3 Stars: Good - Minor flaws visible upon inspection under standard lighting
  • 2 Stars: Fair - Exhibits flaws or damage that may draw the eye under standard lighting
  • 1 Star: Poor - Flaws or damage immediately apparent under standard lighting (examples: missing components, rips, broken glass, damaged surfaces, etc.)

Note: Condition ratings and condition details are the subjective opinions of our specialists and should be used as a guide only. Waddington’s uses due care when preparing condition details, however, our staff are not professional restorers or conservators. Condition details and reports are not warranties and each lot is sold “as is” in accordance with the buyer’s terms and conditions of sale. In all cases the prospective purchaser is responsible for inspecting the property themselves prior to placing a bid.