Caribou-skin model of a hunter

Gwich'in, 19th century AD
From Canada, Northwest Territories

This is likely to have been a model made for sale at a fur trading post, but it could also have been a playdoll designed to educate children. The hunter wears face-paint, of the kind that would have been worn by a chief on special occasions. This may have been a ritual ceremony, or the more mundane, but very important business of the fur trade.

He wears summer costume, made of caribou skin, with an all-in-one trouser moccasin, and a beaded shirt or tunic. The yoke of the tunic and leggings are decorated with beadwork, while the belt is of loom-woven quillwork. Strips of quillwork were widely used for appliqué decoration: they were created on a loom, a bent stick strung with sinew warps providing the tension.

The model came to The British Museum from the collection of the Marquis of Lorne. Lord Lorne was Governor-General of Canada in the 1880s. He was married to Queen Victoria's daughter Princess Louise, whose second name was given to the province of Alberta.

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More information


J.C.H. King, First peoples, first contacts: (London, The British Museum Press, 1999)


Height: 45.000 cm

Museum number

AOA 1887.12-8.17



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