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Entries from March 2019

Collections Highlight E29966: Stone Lamp


Stone Lamp
By Mary Gay

This qulliq/kudlik (oil lamp) affiliated with the Inuit Native group from Baffin Island, Nunavut was collected and donated by Lt. William A. Mintzer, and accessioned into the museum in 1876. Blubber would be pounded up in the concave part of the stone to access the oil and some sort of moss or other plant matter would be placed along the edge of the stone as a wick that would be lit with flint. It was usually the woman’s job to tend to the lamp to provide continuous light and heat to the home during the cold, dark winter.   

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Collections Highlight E424728: Woman’s Boots and Socks (Kamiks)

Inuit woman's boots and socks

By Mary Gay

These Kamiks (boots) and removable socks are affiliated with the Western Greenland Inuit Native group. The boots are made of red and white depilated sealskin (skin with the hair removed), with brown sealskin soles, and the socks are made of sealskin with fur on the inside. At some point, the brown fur cuffs above the white cuffs on the boots were removed from the socks and attached there. The beautiful embroidery seen on these boots is a method known a avigtat embroidery, invented by the Inuit of Greenland. This method is done by sewing tiny pieces of dyed skin into patterns. This style of Kamiks is referenced in The Art of Greenland by Bodil Kaalund which explains that long, red boots with this style of embroidery up the shin and around the knee were made for women getting married (147).  The Kamiks measure 58 & 57 cm in height and the soles measure 23 & 21 cm in length. They were collected and donated by Paul Oscanyan in 1927-1928.

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Collections Highlight E425709: Miniature Sled

Inuit Miniature sled from Rigolet, Labrador.

By Mary Gay

This object is affiliated with the Inuit Native group in Labrador, Canada. It was created by Garmel Riche, who is originally from Bluff Head Cove, Newfoundland and Labrador, in 1986-1987. It is a work of basketry using the coiling technique, and sewing, made from beach grass with brass wire runners wrapped in grass. One of the runners has broken off. The sled is 15.5 cm long, 6.8 cm wide, and 3.0 cm tall. Sarah Baikie collected it from Rigolet, Labrador and donated it to the museum where it was accessioned on December 1, 1989.

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Introducing Our New YouTube Channel

The Alaska office of the Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center at the Anchorage Museum has completed a new YouTube channel, presenting videos from its programs, where you can learn from Alaska Native elders, culture bearers and artists about their languages, arts and lifeways.

Playlist subjects include Dena’ina, Iñupiaq and St. Lawrence Island Yupik languages and cultures; making Aleutian Island bentwood hats; processing and making art with salmon, gut, ivory, porcupine quill and cedar bark.

ASC YouTube Channel
ASC YouTube Channel Home Page

Collections Highlight E424737: Beaded Mat

Western Greenland Inuit Native Group beaded mat

By Mary Gay 

This mat is affiliated with the Western Greenland Inuit Native group and was collected in 1927-1928 by Paul Oscanyan on the west coast of Greenland. A young, unnamed Inuit girl made and gifted it to Oscanyan in gratitude for him teaching her brother navigation. The mat is made of cotton string, beaded with small glass beads and has a diameter of 20.3 cm. Native Greenlanders have used beading as decoration for centuries using natural materials such as bone until the introduction of glass beads by Europeans.       

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