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: Fine Arts Paris & la Biennale 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 parkas made of creamy opaque gutskin (sea mammal intestines) were worn by Inuit men and women over other clothes for protection against sea-spray or sleet. Parkas could also be used as garments for ceremonial carved figures, as is probably the case here.
Sea mammal intestines and other membranes underwent complex processing, including several washings, peeling inside and out, and scraping with a blunt scraper.
To make a waterproof parka, the Inuit seamstress cut the intestines into the required lengths and sewed it aligned vertically or horizontally according to function or locale. She used a waterproof stitch that did 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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