This bird spear is another example of the walrus as a source of material for tools. The triple pronged head is made from carved walrus ivory while the shaft is made of driftwood rubbed with red ochre. Wood is a scarce resource in the treeless Arctic tundra and so Inuit craftspeople often used driftwood or an alternate material (such as bone) in its place. Of particular interest to me was the delicate knot work that helps hold the prongs to the shaft.

This bird spear is another example of the walrus as a source of material for tools. The triple pronged head is made from carved walrus ivory while the shaft is made of driftwood rubbed with red ochre. Wood is a scarce resource in the treeless Arctic tundra and so Inuit craftspeople often used driftwood or an alternate material (such as bone) in its place. Of particular interest to me was the delicate knot work that helps hold the prongs to the shaft.

I’ve always thought baleen baskets were beautiful. The baleen itself is very flexible, has a nice sheen to it, and smells wonderfully of the sea- like saltwater and dried seaweed. The finial is carved from walrus ivory with delicate dots to represent the eyes and whiskers. The Arctic Museum has a large collection of these baskets, thanks to generous donors, and it was a pleasure to sort through them to find the one I liked best.

I’ve always thought baleen baskets were beautiful. The baleen itself is very flexible, has a nice sheen to it, and smells wonderfully of the sea- like saltwater and dried seaweed. The finial is carved from walrus ivory with delicate dots to represent the eyes and whiskers. The Arctic Museum has a large collection of these baskets, thanks to generous donors, and it was a pleasure to sort through them to find the one I liked best.

npr

skunkbear:

Close-ups of butterfly wing scales! You should definitely click on these images to get the full detail.

I’ve paired each amazing close-up (by macro photographer Linden Gledhill) with an image of the corresponding butterfly or moth.  The featured lepidoptera* are (in order of appearance):

*Lepidoptera (the scientific order that includes moths and butterflies) means “scaly wing.” The scales get their color not from pigment - but from microscopic structures that manipulate light.

The great science youtube channel “Smarter Every Day” has two videos on this very subject that I highly recommend:

   While researching walruses, I came across a photo of a photo of this figure and found out it is called a tupilak. This tupilak, carved from a sperm whale tooth and depicting a walrus/monster hybrid, is from Kulusk in East Greenland. Tupilaks were magical spirits created by a shaman and then sent out to destroy an enemy, but a more powerful shaman could turn them against their creator. The actual charm itself was made from bone, hair, fingernails, and other ingredients with magical properties. This tupilak represents the spirit summoned by the charm rather than a representation of the charm itself.

While researching walruses, I came across a photo of a photo of this figure and found out it is called a tupilak. This tupilak, carved from a sperm whale tooth and depicting a walrus/monster hybrid, is from Kulusk in East Greenland. Tupilaks were magical spirits created by a shaman and then sent out to destroy an enemy, but a more powerful shaman could turn them against their creator. The actual charm itself was made from bone, hair, fingernails, and other ingredients with magical properties. This tupilak represents the spirit summoned by the charm rather than a representation of the charm itself.

   This Inuit shovel was carved from a walrus shoulder blade. The Inuit, who inhabit the Arctic regions of Greenland, Canada, and the US, are well known for their sea faring and hunting skills and a large part of their diet comes from marine animals. Walrus are too powerful to be hunted by one person so Inuit hunters worked in teams. They and their families used most parts of the walrus, including the skin, bones, and ivory, in ingenious ways, as with this shovel.

This Inuit shovel was carved from a walrus shoulder blade. The Inuit, who inhabit the Arctic regions of Greenland, Canada, and the US, are well known for their sea faring and hunting skills and a large part of their diet comes from marine animals. Walrus are too powerful to be hunted by one person so Inuit hunters worked in teams. They and their families used most parts of the walrus, including the skin, bones, and ivory, in ingenious ways, as with this shovel.

We’re back

We’re back

We’ve been neglecting this blog for a long time, but we have not forgotten you! Our Crocker Land research and exhibit development is going into high gear now, with only 8 months to go until it opens. We have already begun in a sense, with a series of photograph exhibits in our foyer. The first of these: Off to a Rocky Start: The Crocker Land Expedition, 1913has just come down, but will reappear…

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framingcanada
framingcanada:

Arctic Highlanders who spent the winter 1923-1924 at Craig Harbour, Ellesmere Island, N.W.T. (Nunavut), ca. 1924. (via Archives Search - Library and Archives Canada) Credit: Roy Tash/Library and Archives Canada/PA-102281

According to Lyle Dick (2001 Muskox Land, figure 60,  p. 280) these are Padlunga (Patdlunguaq), Kishook (Qisuk) and Inacosea (Inogusiaq), Inughuit from NW Greenland who worked for the RCMP at Craig Harbour.

framingcanada:

Arctic Highlanders who spent the winter 1923-1924 at Craig Harbour, Ellesmere Island, N.W.T. (Nunavut), ca. 1924. (via Archives Search - Library and Archives Canada)
Credit: Roy Tash/Library and Archives Canada/PA-102281

According to Lyle Dick (2001 Muskox Land, figure 60,  p. 280) these are Padlunga (Patdlunguaq), Kishook (Qisuk) and Inacosea (Inogusiaq), Inughuit from NW Greenland who worked for the RCMP at Craig Harbour.