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Man's boots

 

Height: 34.000 cm (1986,10.55 right)
Length: 24.000 cm (soles)
Width: 9.000 cm (soles)
Height: 34.000 cm (1986,10.55 right)
Length: 24.000 cm (soles)
Width: 9.000 cm (soles)

AOA 1986.Am10.55ab (right);AOA 1996.Am 3.18ab (left)

Africa, Oceania, Americas

    Man's boots

    Iglulingmiut, AD 1985-86 and 1995
    From Igloolik, Nunavut, eastern Canadian Arctic

    In the past, to be a good hunter, it was not enough to master certain technical skills. The success of a hunter also depended on the respect he and his family showed towards the animals hunted, and it was important to follow certain rules, such as the taboos relating to the division between sea and land animals. For instance, when hunting seals, a hunter would not be allowed to use caribou skin boots. Instead he would wear a pair of warm boots and a kind of overshoe with bearded seal skin for the soles, and ringed seal for the vamp, as in the pair of boots to the right. When hunting on the land, his overshoes would be of caribou skin, as in the pair to the left.

    While these taboos had to be adhered to in order not to offend the animals or supernatural beings, they did have a practical dimension: caribou skin boots get wet more easily than seal skin boots when used on the ice. Although no longer practised in the same way, the respect towards the animals and the environment that grew out of these beliefs is still alive today.

    Both pairs of boots are from Igloolik, those on the right made in about 1985-86, those on the left made by Zipporah Innuksuk in 1995.

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

    B.K. Issenman, Sinew of survival: the living (Vancouver, UBC Press, 1997)

    J.E. Oakes and R. Riewe, Our boots: an Inuit womans art (New York, Thames and Hudson, 1996)

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    Arctic clothing, £25.00

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