M5095 | Pendant

Anonyme - Anonymous
Eastern Arctic
Inuit: Nunavimiut
1900-1910, 20th century
Caribou hide, sinew, caribou teeth, copper (empty cartridge shells), glass beads
25 x 6.5 cm
Gift of Mrs. James H. Peck
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Amauti decoration (1)
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The clothing accessories of the Inuit served a functional, decorative and symbolic purpose. In most regions of the Arctic, parkas had a caribou hide fringe sewn along the bottom, and hide strips or pompons on the chest or back. European trade goods - beads, coins, spoons, copper cartridges - were sewn along with traditional decorative elements.

Keys to History

On their travels, Europeans often carried coloured beads, firearms and other items to trade with indigenous people for items they valued more. This pendant is an interesting example of how the Inuit took ownership of such items. In this case, beads and bullet casings have been incorporated into the decorative trim that was traditional to Inuit clothing, particularly women's amauti, or coats. This piece of trim also contains more traditional decorative items such as caribou teeth.

According to the McCord Museum's original register book, this piece of beadwork is a section of the decorative trim off a woman's white caribou hide coat. It was worn by an Inuit girl on a journey in the Arctic to Hudson Bay in 1910.

  • What

    This is a piece of decorative trim from a woman's jacket, made from glass beads, bullet casings and animal teeth strung on sinew.

  • Where

    A young girl wore the amauti decorated with this fringe on a journey to the East Coast of James Bay, Nunavik.

  • When

    Mrs. James H. Peck, one of the founding members of the Canadian Guild of Crafts, acquired this piece of fringe in 1910.

  • Who

    The name of the girl who originally owned this piece of fringe is not recorded.