The British Museum's collections, £16.99
Length: 27.000 cm
Height: 22.000 cm
AOA Ethno 2001,Am 14.9ab
Africa, Oceania, Americas
Pair of felt socks
Made by Meqqileriffik, Narsaq, South Greenland, AD 2001
'I am fascinated by the possibilities in working with wool and felt, all the things you can do. It's only your imagination that sets limits.' (Employee at Meqqileriffik, June 2001)
Meqqileriffik, the 'place for working with wool', is the name of the municipality's wool workshop in Narsaq, a South Greenlandic town with around 1700 inhabitants (in the year 2000) and the centre of Greenland's most important sheep farming district.
Sheep farming in this area goes back to the Norse settlers, who lived on numerous farms in this area between AD 985 and around 1500. Greenlanders traditionally mainly lived on hunting and fishing. However, when profits from seal hunting were dropping in the early twentieth century, sheep farming was seen as a viable alternative. Today, about two-thirds of the approximately 21,000 sheep in Greenland are kept in the Narsaq district.
At Meqqileriffik, wool from Greenlandic sheep is made into a variety of products, including different kinds of felt slippers and socks, as well as knitted socks, mittens and scarfs. Hand-made felt socks such as these are the most popular. They are sold especially to North Greenland, where hunters use them inside rubber boots. In addition to this standard production, the employees make single pieces, experimenting with materials, techniques and design.
Other Views: Selection of slippers and socks of dyed and natural hand-made felt on display in the shop of Meqqileriffik. Narsaq, June 2001.
Baby boots. Experimenting with combinations of felt and sealskin, new products are developed at Meqqileriffik. These are a first example. Narsaq, June 2001.