Is there such thing as a "fake" carving?

From time-to-time, we get asked by our clients how authentic these carvings are and if there are such a thing as a fake carving (ie. from China).

To address these concerns, for the most part the answer is NO. Inuit carvings are all unique hand crafted pieces made by the Inuit. It is such a niche industry - and a small one at that, that it is not worth the time nor efforts for countries of mass production (like China) to bother with. Watches, phones, electronics, brand name hand bags of course is another story.

It is important that you purchase your Inuit art from an Inuit Art Foundation licensed art gallery. You will know that they are licensed when you see that they carry an Igloo Tag with their gallery number at the corner.

At our Inuit Art Foundation license number is 15. You can find this number on the bottom right corner of the Igloo Tag.

Igloo TagIt is very important that your carving has this certificate. This tag eliminates all of the guessing work as to weather the artwork is authentic or not.

The number at the corner classifies the gallery.

With this in mind, there are still some sculptures that resemble Inuit carvings that ARE mass produced which are tailored more for the "gift shop market".

These carvings include:

Gift Shop "Star Carved" Polar Miniature Polar Bears
found in many Canadian Parks Wildlife Gift shops.

"Dimu" Carvings"
Dimu pieces were sold in the 1960's & 70's at a much more affordable price point compared to original handcrafted pieces by the Inuit. Its core audience were mainly tourists visiting gift shops. Each piece is signed with "Dimu" so it is easy to notice.

DIMU is actually the signature of a German-Canadian artist named DIETER MUCKENHEIM. The works are somewhat mysterious and quite sparse, however they were his own original design. They are non-inuit sculpture. His pieces are usually dated to the in the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s.


"Abbott Canada"
Abbott Canada are hand made carvings made in Canada. These carvings are not handmade. They are mass produced. They are not classified as Inuit art, thus are worth substantially less. The word "Abbott Canada" will be marked on the carving.

This would be classified as gift ware that you would find in a boutique.

"Wolf Original carvings"

These are carving made out of soapstone. They are not carved by Inuit artists. Usually they are marked on the bottom as "wolf original"

Comment on this post (12 comments)

  • George D. says...

    I have a Dimu carving – an Inuit igloo comprised of 2 pieces which act as book ends – approx 6"x 6" wide & 4" high.
    Any idea what it’s value might be?

    November 11, 2019

  • Sarah says...

    My “Wolf Originals” I can find on eBay. Can’t be too original when I’m holding one and I see three or four on eBay the same… Identical. So as the writer originally stated, Wolf Originals are not carved by the Inuit and are marketed for gift shops. $5-50 Canadian.

    November 11, 2019

  • Cheryl Andrist says...

    I know this piece of art is a fake but was wondering if you people have seen any others similar to mine. They have it stamped as Pipestone Art, Calgary, Alberta. The name carved on side is Angelina Sukti and then there is another signature with an upside down V- Hiier Yu. The H may be a W, not sure. I suspect it is made in China. I know it is not pipestone as it is black and looks like a resin or some kind of molded clay. The scupture is that of a Inuit hunting a seal and has a rope tied around the neck of the seal. The rope actually is a painted black piece of wire. The man stands about 10 inches high and the base is about 12 to 14 inches in length. I have never seen any other like it even though it is a fake. Just wondering how many more are out there made with this type of resin/clay? And if you can not answer this, that is fine….I understand. We bought it back in the 60’s and knew when we bought it that it was a fake…We just liked the image.

    November 11, 2019

  • Jeremy Fentin says...

    I keep seeing small size Wolf originals at the thrift store. The irony of these hand crafted pieces us that they are often 2 or 3 in a bag, often all identical, for a total of$4 or so. I could buy a dozen ‘Wolf Originals’ a week from just one Value Village.

    They are quite nice and quaint but obviously mass produced.

    November 11, 2019

  • Janice says...

    I have a DIMU marked soap stone carving of a INUIT hunter, is it worth anything?

    November 11, 2019

  • Jane Friesen says...

    Good afternoon,
    I have several Inuit carvings from the 1960’s – they are authentic. Do you buy or could you give me a value on these?

    Thank you,

    November 11, 2019

  • carole thomnas says...

    Why do you say ABBOTT SCULPTURES ARE HAND CARVED ORIGINALS when they are molded and have the molded signature on the bases. .

    November 11, 2019

  • donna bier says...

    I have a question about a signature on a carving. I have had a few inuit carvings and this signature has me stumped.
    It looks quite simply like a WE the E is attached to the W"s left side line.
    It is a beautiful hunter with 2 walrus.

    November 11, 2019

  • Cindy Easton says...

    Are “Wolf Originals” worth anything?

    May 14, 2018

  • Craig says...

    I have a piece by “Al Wolf” I bought in the 1980s. Are you saying that all “Al Wolf” pieces are not Inuit?

    November 11, 2019

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