The Art and Technique of Inuit Clothing
Anonyme - Anonymous
Inuit: Kivalliq Inuit, Hauneqtormiut
1990-1991, 20th century
Arctic fox fur, cotton thread, felt, polar fleece, polyester and cotton cloth (Grenfell cloth), synthetic fabric, wool thread, synthetic thread
43.5 x 195.6 cm
Gift of Shoshanna Anisman
© McCord Museum
Keywords: Amauti (9)
Keys to History
Today's Inuit seamstresses often make apparel, such as this beautiful amauti (parka), of furs in combination with woven materials. They make the garments for themselves, as gifts, for non-Inuit who work in the Arctic or for sale to tourists. This amauti's decoration replicates the fur inlays and borders that outline traditional fur apparel. Commercially made purple and pink braid surrounds the face opening, goes around the kiniq (apron), the akuq (tail), and echoes the kiniq shape mid-way between waist and base. The whole amauti is sewn by machine using cotton thread.
Inuit seamstresses fashion clothing today in keeping with traditional principles used by their ancestors. The apparel conserves heat, eliminates humidity, prevents ingress of water and wind, and has durability, all characteristics that meet the rigours of Arctic environments. The principles of clothing construction, common to all Inuit, abide whether fur, wool, plant or synthetic fibres are being used. Since contact with non-Inuit started in the 13th century, the Inuit have taken from other societies materials and often items of clothing viable for their way of life, while retaining their own basic precepts of clothing production.
This amauti consists of two layers. The windproof outer shell is made of Grenfell cloth - a mix of polyester and cotton. The inner amauti has a layer of pink-coloured polar fleece sewn together with an innermost layer of beige wool felt. The ruff on the rounded hood consists of a whole Arctic fox.
This amauti was made in Kangiqliniq (Rankin Inlet) where the donor lived and worked. Kangiqliniq is inhabited by the Kivalliq (Caribou Inuit).
The donor received the amauti as a gift after the birth of her son in December 1990, from the Inuit woman who made the garment. The seamstress obtained her materials from a woman who sold sewing supplies from her home in Kangiqliniq.
The seamstress, although she was living in Kangiqliniq among the Kivalliq, was originally from Qikiqtaaluk (Baffin Island). She fashioned the amauti to have some features in the traditional style of the Nunatsiarmiut, specifically the shape of the akuq and kiniq, and the decoration.