Soapstone oil lamp

The soapstone lamp is a shallow bowl that holds oil for burning.

Royal Ontario Museum

Soapstone
Length: 41.5cm, Width: 20.5cm, Height: 9.5cm
NS5566
©1996 - the Royal Ontario Museum (Toronto). All Rights Reserved.


CULTURAL CONTEXT : Heating, light, and cooking

DESCRIPTION : The soapstone lamp is a shallow bowl that holds oil for burning. The oil is burned using a wick of moss arranged around the lamp edge. The oil lamp was the only source of light and heat in the snowhouse and it also provided the heat source for cooking.

GEO-CULTURAL AREA : Eastern Arctic

ETHNOLINGUISTIC GROUP : Inuit-Inupiaq

CULTURE : Quebec Inuit; Tarramiut

NATURAL REGION : Ungava Bay

PROVINCE : Quebec

PERIOD : late 20th Century

MATERIAL : Soapstone

METHOD OF MANUFACTURE : Carved
CULTURAL CONTEXT : Heating, light, and cooking

DESCRIPTION : The soapstone lamp is a shallow bowl that holds oil for burning. The oil is burned using a wick of moss arranged around the lamp edge. The oil lamp was the only source of light and heat in the snowhouse and it also provided the heat source for cooking.

GEO-CULTURAL AREA : Eastern Arctic

ETHNOLINGUISTIC GROUP : Inuit-Inupiaq

CULTURE : Quebec Inuit; Tarramiut

NATURAL REGION : Ungava Bay

PROVINCE : Quebec

PERIOD : late 20th Century

MATERIAL : Soapstone

METHOD OF MANUFACTURE : Carved

©1996 - the Royal Ontario Museum (Toronto). All Rights Reserved.

Snow Knife

A crescent shaped knife of bone with both edges bifacially worked.

Royal Ontario Museum

Bone
Length: 38.7 cm Width: 5.9 cm Depth: 1.4 cm
940.101.31
©1996 - the Royal Ontario Museum (Toronto). All Rights Reserved.


CULTURAL CONTEXT : Snowhouse construction; snow knives are used to cut blocks of snow from snow banks.

DESCRIPTION : A crescent shaped knife of bone with both edges bifacially worked. The proximal end has been shaped into a handle with a tang at the end to act as a stop for the hand. A hole has been drilled through the thickness of the knife at the junction of the blade and handle. Gift of L.A. Learmonth
GEO-CULTURAL AREA : Central Arctic

ETHNOLINGUISTIC GROUP : Inuit-Inupiaq

CULTURE : Iglulik Inuit

NATURAL REGION : Somerset Island; Batty Bay

PROVINCE : Northwest Territories

PERIOD : 19th Century

MATERIAL : Bone

METHOD OF MANUFACTURE : Carved
CULTURAL CONTEXT : Snowhouse construction; snow knives are used to cut blocks of snow from snow banks.

DESCRIPTION : A crescent shaped knife of bone with both edges bifacially worked. The proximal end has been shaped into a handle with a tang at the end to act as a stop for the hand. A hole has been drilled through the thickness of the knife at the junction of the blade and handle. Gift of L.A. Learmonth
GEO-CULTURAL AREA : Central Arctic

ETHNOLINGUISTIC GROUP : Inuit-Inupiaq

CULTURE : Iglulik Inuit

NATURAL REGION : Somerset Island; Batty Bay

PROVINCE : Northwest Territories

PERIOD : 19th Century

MATERIAL : Bone

METHOD OF MANUFACTURE : Carved

©1996 - the Royal Ontario Museum (Toronto). All Rights Reserved.

Scraper

This scraper is used to soften skins

Royal Ontario Museum

Bone; Musk-ox humerus
Length: 19.1 cm Width: 6.4 cm Depth: 2.0 cm
HC3098
©1996 - the Royal Ontario Museum (Toronto). All Rights Reserved.


CULTURAL CONTEXT : Skin preparation; Used to soften skins.

DESCRIPTION : A wide, concave-shaped blade narrows to a handle formed by an extension that is oriented at a right angle to the blade. The blunt-edged scraper is used to soften the skins by breaking the fibres.

GEO-CULTURAL AREA : Central Arctic

ETHNOLINGUISTIC GROUP : Inuit-Inupiaq

CULTURE : Caribou Inuit

NATURAL REGION : Baker Lake

PROVINCE : Northwest Territories

DATE MANUFACTURE ENDED : 1930 p

PERIOD : 20th Century, early

MATERIAL : Bone; Musk-ox humerus

METHOD OF MANUFACTURE : Carved
CULTURAL CONTEXT : Skin preparation; Used to soften skins.

DESCRIPTION : A wide, concave-shaped blade narrows to a handle formed by an extension that is oriented at a right angle to the blade. The blunt-edged scraper is used to soften the skins by breaking the fibres.

GEO-CULTURAL AREA : Central Arctic

ETHNOLINGUISTIC GROUP : Inuit-Inupiaq

CULTURE : Caribou Inuit

NATURAL REGION : Baker Lake

PROVINCE : Northwest Territories

DATE MANUFACTURE ENDED : 1930 p

PERIOD : 20th Century, early

MATERIAL : Bone; Musk-ox humerus

METHOD OF MANUFACTURE : Carved

©1996 - the Royal Ontario Museum (Toronto). All Rights Reserved.

Blunt-edged scraper

This tool is used to press water out of seal skin.

Royal Ontario Museum

Whale bone
WIDTH 11.4 cm HEIGHT 8.4 cm DEPTH 1.9 cm
HC2169
©1996 - the Royal Ontario Museum (Toronto). All Rights Reserved.


CULTURAL CONTEXT : Skin preparation; used to press excess water out of the hair of washed sealskin.

DESCRIPTION : A straight, dull-edged blade. The upper surface is concave in shape with a thick proximal end to form the grip. The central section of the upper surface is grooved across the width of the scraper to accept the fingers. Gift of Rev. Archibald Lang Fleming.

GEO-CULTURAL AREA : Eastern Arctic

ETHNOLINGUISTIC GROUP : Inuit-Inupiaq

CULTURE : Baffinland Inuit

NATURAL REGION : Baffin Island; Hudson Strait

PROVINCE : Northwest Territories

PERIOD : early 20th Century

MATERIAL : Whale bone

METHOD OF MANUFACTURE : Carved
CULTURAL CONTEXT : Skin preparation; used to press excess water out of the hair of washed sealskin.

DESCRIPTION : A straight, dull-edged blade. The upper surface is concave in shape with a thick proximal end to form the grip. The central section of the upper surface is grooved across the width of the scraper to accept the fingers. Gift of Rev. Archibald Lang Fleming.

GEO-CULTURAL AREA : Eastern Arctic

ETHNOLINGUISTIC GROUP : Inuit-Inupiaq

CULTURE : Baffinland Inuit

NATURAL REGION : Baffin Island; Hudson Strait

PROVINCE : Northwest Territories

PERIOD : early 20th Century

MATERIAL : Whale bone

METHOD OF MANUFACTURE : Carved

©1996 - the Royal Ontario Museum (Toronto). All Rights Reserved.

Snow shovel

Snow shovel is used to shovel loose snow up on to a snowhouse.

Royal Ontario Museum

Antler; Skin; Sinew
Length: 66.4 cm Width: 42.4 cm Depth 8.1 cm
936.35.1
©1996 - the Royal Ontario Museum (Toronto). All Rights Reserved.


CULTURAL CONTEXT : Snowhouse construction; used to shovel loose snow up on to a snowhouse.

DESCRIPTION : A triangular frame of antler lashed together with sinew and pegged with bone pegs. The space between the frame comprising the main section of the shovel blade, is dehaired skin. The skin is sewn to the frame with sinew. A u-shaped hand grip is lashed with sinew in a vertical position near the apex of the triangular frame on the front of the blade. Gift of L.A. Learmonth.

GEO-CULTURAL AREA : Arctic

ETHNOLINGUISTIC GROUP : Inuit-Inupiaq

CULTURE : Netsilik Inuit

NATURAL REGION : King William Island; Simpson Strait

PROVINCE : Northwest Territories

PERIOD : early 20th Century

MATERIAL : Antler; Skin; Sinew

METHOD OF MANUFACTURE : Carved; laced; pegged
CULTURAL CONTEXT : Snowhouse construction; used to shovel loose snow up on to a snowhouse.

DESCRIPTION : A triangular frame of antler lashed together with sinew and pegged with bone pegs. The space between the frame comprising the main section of the shovel blade, is dehaired skin. The skin is sewn to the frame with sinew. A u-shaped hand grip is lashed with sinew in a vertical position near the apex of the triangular frame on the front of the blade. Gift of L.A. Learmonth.

GEO-CULTURAL AREA : Arctic

ETHNOLINGUISTIC GROUP : Inuit-Inupiaq

CULTURE : Netsilik Inuit

NATURAL REGION : King William Island; Simpson Strait

PROVINCE : Northwest Territories

PERIOD : early 20th Century

MATERIAL : Antler; Skin; Sinew

METHOD OF MANUFACTURE : Carved; laced; pegged

©1996 - the Royal Ontario Museum (Toronto). All Rights Reserved.

Adze

Adze were used for paring down bone, ivory, and wood.

Royal Ontario Museum

Nephrite; bone; skin
Length: 30.8 cm Width: 10.0 cm Depth 6.6 cm
929.20.10
©1996 - the Royal Ontario Museum (Toronto). All Rights Reserved.


CULTURAL CONTEXT : Raw material preparation; adzes were used for paring down bone, ivory, and wood.

DESCRIPTION : The nephrite head is hafted to a bone handle. The curved bone handle is perforated with two holes through which skin lashings pass to bind together the handle and adze head. The cutting edge is bifacially ground and straight in configuration.

GEO-CULTURAL AREA : Central Arctic

ETHNOLINGUISTIC GROUP : Inuit-Inupiaq

CULTURE : Copper Inuit

NATURAL REGION : Victoria Island

PROVINCE : Northwest Territories

PERIOD : early 20th Century

MATERIAL : Nephrite; bone; skin

METHOD OF MANUFACTURE : Carved; ground; lashed
CULTURAL CONTEXT : Raw material preparation; adzes were used for paring down bone, ivory, and wood.

DESCRIPTION : The nephrite head is hafted to a bone handle. The curved bone handle is perforated with two holes through which skin lashings pass to bind together the handle and adze head. The cutting edge is bifacially ground and straight in configuration.

GEO-CULTURAL AREA : Central Arctic

ETHNOLINGUISTIC GROUP : Inuit-Inupiaq

CULTURE : Copper Inuit

NATURAL REGION : Victoria Island

PROVINCE : Northwest Territories

PERIOD : early 20th Century

MATERIAL : Nephrite; bone; skin

METHOD OF MANUFACTURE : Carved; ground; lashed

©1996 - the Royal Ontario Museum (Toronto). All Rights Reserved.

Learning Objectives

The learner will:
  • Identify some traditional materials and manufacture methods utilized by Canadian Arctic peoples
  • Identify some objects made by Canadian Arctic peoples and their uses

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