The Igloo Tag

If you're new to Inuit art, you're probably wondering what this little card attached to each carving is. This is called an Igloo tag. It is a certificate proving the authenticity of each piece. Inside each tag, the name of the artist, community and item number are recorded. Each carving that is brought into the local co-op by the artist, is assigned a number which is written on the card, and then registered with the department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada. Here is further reading on the origins of the Igloo Tag.


"The Canadian government issued disc numbers to the Inuit starting in the 1940s and continued into the 1970s. They were imprinted on fibre discs and were to be worn around the neck. The disc numbers were to be used in place of names. The numbers were preceded by an E or W indicating if the wearer came from the Eastern or Western Arctic. The next single or double digit stood for where the wearer came from. The last one to four numbers were particular to that person. The numbering system was used in what is now the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. It is these disc numbers that Inuit artists from that time period inscribe on the bottoms of their sculptures.

In the early 70's the disc number was replaced with the artist's name. Consequently, this piece dates prior to that period".

Comment on this post (4 comments)

  • Robert Arnett says...

    I recently acquired a fine piece of Inuit sculpture with the Canada Eskimo Art seal on the base as well as a second sticker that says Carving Number 821-1504. The soapstone carving is black soapstone and depicts a seal looking backwards with it’s head extended over it’s body and it is approx. 7 inches long and 4 inches high. There is no other tag attached to the carving.
    I am wondering if anyone may be able to give me any information as to who the Carving Artist is and some idea of how old it might be? The approximate value of the carving would be appreciated however not essential as no matter it’s value to anyone else I have no intention to sell it. I am one of those people who hold onto things because I get enjoyment from the item itself which is certainly the case for this Seal carving.

    November 11, 2019

  • David Ryzak says...

    I have a soapstone carving of a squirrel? or rabbit? or? (sitting upright with a long tail.) The figure is 10 cm tall, and up to 5 cm by 8 cm at the base.

    It has a label like the one above, but w/o “esquimau.” The number 313339 is carved in the bottom of the figure. There are letters also. One set looks like VU when viewed from below the toes of the figure. On the next line, but facing the opposite direction the other set looks like IVU with the fourth character a small “c” within a circle.

    Can you give me the approximate year the carving would have been made? Can you give me a rough estimate of it’s value now? Thank you.

    November 11, 2019

  • Kathy says...

    How do you tell if its a real Labon Carved Scouptor?

    November 11, 2019

  • al salsberg says...

    I have a large Quartz/marble sculpture of an Eskimo holding an
    antler. It’s by Kiawak Ashoona and is 23’ high. It weighs app. 88
    pounds. It dates to the 1960’s

    July 17, 2016

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published