Kayak model

North America | Alaska

Kayak model

Alaska

Kayak Model
Inuit culture

Early 20th century or earlier
Carved wood, hide and marine ivory
Length: 54 cm – 21 ¼ in.

Provenance
Ex private collection, Paris

Kayak model 54 cm / Galerie Flak Price on request
Archaeology in the Far North has provided evidence that kayaks date back at least 2,000 years. These hunting and fishing vessels were used to stealthily approach seals, walruses, and whales. In rivers and lakes, kayaks also allowed hunters to approach caribou migrating in the middle of the current. Additionally, they were used for fishing and transporting passengers and goods.
Kayaks occupy a prominent place in the life of the Arctic peoples. According to Frank Andrew, "kayaks were crucial for survival at that time. They were used for hunting but also for gathering food. They had multiple uses." Nevertheless, the primary function of these kayaks was hunting and transportation, enabling access to various food sources along the coasts.
Kayaks were not seen as mere utilitarian objects. Each kayak was made to the dimensions of its owner and decorated with family motifs. The kayak was considered like a living entity, with the frame likened to a skeleton and the surface (seal skin) to skin. The kayak and the hunter were connected in both life and death. No man could marry until he had brought back a seal from his hunt, thus proving his qualities as a good hunter.
When the hunter died, his kayak was placed on his grave, signifying the everlasting connection between the two.

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