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ME937.3
© McCord Museum
Young girl's amauti
Central Arctic
Inuit: Iglulingmiut (Aivilingmiut)
Anonyme - Anonymous
1925-1935, 20th century
Caribou fur, glass beads, ivory, bone, teeth, wool braid, cotton tape and thread, stroud, sinew
48 x 128 cm
ME937.3
© McCord Museum

Keys to History:

Many ancient design elements can be seen on this elaborate girl's amauti: the tooth motif, parallel lines, zig-zags and on the amauti toggle, the nucleated circle. On either side of the amaut (baby pouch) base are two beaded rosettes that echo a motif from the front. From these dangle a beaded fringe whose strings end with caribou incisor teeth and carved bone pendants. These are puberty symbols underneath which would be placed thongs to tie up the akuq (tail) when the girl's menses occurred. Beadwork surrounds the face opening and rises up the front centre hood using "heart" and "cross" motifs outlined by parallel rows and triangles, and topped by a large rosette of quatrefoil shape.

Inuit skin clothing contains within it traditions and symbols that come from ancient times and are intercontinental, having spread from Siberia across the Arctic to Kalaallit Nunaat (Greenland). Clothing traditions act as a carrier for artistic, social and spiritual conventions, both prehistoric and historical.

What:

This beaded girl's amauti is made of winter-weight caribou hide, fur to the inside, with a high rounded hood. The very small amaut symbolizes the girl's future role as a mother. When the girl reaches her menarche, her mother will insert pieces into the sides and base of the amaut to expand it so that it will accommodate her children when she marries.

Where:

This amautiwas collected north of Igluligaarjuk (Chesterfield Inlet) near Naujaat (Repulse Bay), home to the Aivilingmiut, a subgroup of the Iglulingmiut.

When:

Numerous Arctic scholars agree that this garment likely dates from the 1920s to 1930s.

Who:

This amautiwas made by an Aivilingmiut seamstress, a member of the broader Iglulingmiut group. Some of the styling and ornamentation resembles work done by their neighbours, the Pallirmiut, with whom they exchanged materials and ideas.

© Musée McCord Museum