I sculpted this “Golden Eagle with Rattlesnake” from fossil walrus ivory.

Golden Eagle with Rattlesnake closeup

Private Collection

This fossil walrus ivory is a golden eagle holding a rattle snake. It has the classic butterscotch color. The alula* of the left wing contains more yellow than is typical. It is unusually saturated. It is more of a totem than a representation of a real interaction between eagle and snake.

*The alula is a feathered dagger-like ‘thumb’. It prevents the airflow across the wing from stalling. This is valuable at slow speeds such as soaring and landing.

Golden Eagle with Rattlesnake

Compared to Japanese netsuke my eagle is of very poor quality. I am aware of this. However, I think the head is rather striking and well done.