Miniature parka

North America | Alaska

Miniature parka

Alaska

Inuit (Eskimo) waterproof coat

19th century
Seal gut, sealskin, fur
Height: 27 cm – 10 ½ in.
Length: 31 cm – 12 ¼ in.

Provenance
Ex collection Hugo Bregeau, France

Published: Parcours des Mondes 2022
Inuit miniature parka 27 cm / Galerie Flak Price on request
This is an eminently poetic gutskin miniature parka. It combines technical prowess with an artistry evolved from an ancient heritage. As stated by the McCord Museum in Canada, hooded pullover parka made of creamy opaque gutskin (sea mammal intestines) was worn by Inuit men and women over other clothes for protection against sea-spray or sleet, and for ceremonial purposes. Sea mammal intestines and other membranes undergo complex processing, including several washings, peeling inside and out, and scraping with a blunt scraper. With intestines, one end is tied, the tube inflated, the other end tied and the sausage-like coils hung to dry.
To make a waterproof parka, the Inuit seamstress cuts the intestines into the required lengths and sews it aligned vertically or horizontally according to function or locale. She uses a waterproof stitch that does not penetrate any part of the garment exposed to moisture.
The entire production of one sea mammal coat could take up to a month.
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