The Art and Technique of Inuit Clothing

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Introduction M983.184 ME966X.125.2 ME983X.51.1-2 M2000.28.1.1-2 ME965.194.1-2 ME983X.69.1-4 ME931.5.2.1-2 ME930.19
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Surra Baron
Eastern Arctic
Inuit: Nunavimiut
1979, 20th century
Caribou fur, seal fur, dog fur, sinew, glass beads
44 x 192 cm
Gift of Mr. Ian Lindsay
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Amauti (9)
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Keys to History


The amauti, the parka worn by Inuit women, is perhaps the world's most unique garment. From birth until about two years of age, the child nestles against the mother's back in the amaut, the built-in baby pouch just below the hood. The complex pattern of intricately assembled pieces is designed to create a large, comfortable pouch for the baby, as well as voluminous shoulders so that the mother can bring the child from back to front for breast-feeding or for eliminatory functions without exposure to the elements. The hide belt fastened at centre front goes around the body and under the amaut to hold the child secure.

The chest decoration of beadwork demonstrates the traditional placement of light and dark colours. The wide, harp seal band bordering the front and back flaps testifies to the artistry and skill of the Inuit seamstress.

  • What

    In spring and summer the amauti is worn single-layered, with fur to the inside. In winter, if necessary, a second garment with fur to the outside is worn over the first, making mother and child completely comfortable in the freezing temperatures of the Arctic.

  • Where

    This amauti comes from Kangiqsualujjuaq in Nunavik (Arctic Quebec), at the juncture of the Rivière George and the coast of Ungava Bay.

  • When

    The amauti was purchased by Mr. Ian Lindsay at La Fédération des Coopératives du Nouveau-Québec, Montreal. He was advised that it had been made around 1979.

  • Who

    The artisans who fashioned the amauti are Surra Baron, Surra Annanack and Claire Etook of Kangiqsualujjuaq, Nunavik. The beadwork was made by Ayanaylitok of Salluit (Sugluk), Nunavik.