One plays the game "Bilboquet" by swinging the "target" bone in the air the player attempts to catch it on the point of the long pin. A "target" that has multiple smaller holes requires the player to have more precise hand-eye coordination. A "target" bone that has a large single hole in which the pin can "spear" the "target" is easier to master.
One plays the game "Bilboquet" by swinging the "target" bone in the air the player attempts to catch it on the point of the long pin. A "target" that has multiple smaller holes requires the player to have more precise hand-eye coordination. A "target" bone that has a large single hole in which the pin can "spear" the "target" is easier to master.

© 2009, CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.

Target and Spear

Inuit carvers occasionally make the game equipment from the tip of a muskox horn, but more frequently from the humerus of a seal.

University of Waterloo

© University of Waterloo


Photograph of another type of equipment for "Bilboquet"

Normally, a hole is drilled off centre into one of the ends of the piece of "target" bone in order to attach a plaited piece of sinew cord. The other end of the cord is attached to a sliver of bone shaped into a long pin.

University of Waterloo

© University of Waterloo


An Inuit Dart game is played quite differently than pub and tavern dart games. Within the traditional tool kit of the Inuit hunter were a number of devices used for drilling holes. One was the Niortut - a shaft made from caribou antler with a point made of caribou or polar bear bone, but later the point was made from a piece of metal such as a nail. The top end of the shaft was tapered to fit into a bone "mouth piece" - the Kingmiark. A similar device was the Puttu - used for putting holes into a hard object. A third device, the Kikiadlaksit, was used especially to drill holes into the splicings and bindings of a kayak frame. (E.H. Mitchell, Canadian Eskimo Artifacts, Ottawa: Canadian Arctic Producers, 1970).
An Inuit Dart game is played quite differently than pub and tavern dart games. Within the traditional tool kit of the Inuit hunter were a number of devices used for drilling holes. One was the Niortut - a shaft made from caribou antler with a point made of caribou or polar bear bone, but later the point was made from a piece of metal such as a nail. The top end of the shaft was tapered to fit into a bone "mouth piece" - the Kingmiark. A similar device was the Puttu - used for putting holes into a hard object. A third device, the Kikiadlaksit, was used especially to drill holes into the splicings and bindings of a kayak frame. (E.H. Mitchell, Canadian Eskimo Artifacts, Ottawa: Canadian Arctic Producers, 1970).

© 2009, CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.

Information received with a Niortut indicated that when used in a traditional Inuit game, the following occurred:
Another object was placed on the ground as a target or a target was scratched into the ground or snow. The Niortut was placed on the head with the point facing forward. The player aimed, the head was then tipped, and the Niortut was allowed to fall toward the target!
Information received with a Niortut indicated that when used in a traditional Inuit game, the following occurred:
  • Another object was placed on the ground as a target or a target was scratched into the ground or snow.
  • The Niortut was placed on the head with the point facing forward.
  • The player aimed, the head was then tipped, and the Niortut was allowed to fall toward the target!

© 2009, CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.

Niortut

This is a photograph of a Niortut used for Inuit dart games. The item was purchased by the museum from an Inuit cooperative in 1979. It is 16.5cm long x 3.1cm wide x 1.5cm thick

University of Waterloo

© 1979 University of Waterloo


Learning Objectives

The learner will:
  • Describe the origin and nature of Inuit games;
  • Describe two Inuit games including rules of play, and necessary materials: Bilboquet and Niortut.

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