Model, of Inuit kayak

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from Greenland

Postcard of Model, of Inuit kayak.
© National Museums Scotland

Model, of Inuit kayak

This model is of an Iniut kayak from Greenland. It is pictured with a double-bladed paddle and a harpoon. The kayak was used for hunting waterfowls, sea-mammals and those animals that could be driven into the water, like caribou.

The kayak is made of a driftwood frame with cured animal skins (caribou or seal) stretched over it. Driftwood was the usual source for the kayak framework as trees were sparse in the kayak area. The cockpit is fitted with a skirt to tie around the hunter's waist. The kayak has a flat bottom and sloping bow with bone fixed to the ends and the keel to protect against ice.

Although it is usually associated with the Eskimo culture, the kayak was also used by the Asian cultures of Aleut, Chukchi and Koryak. It is still made today and used by some Eskimo groups, although rifles have largely replaced the traditional spears and harpoons.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-180-002-046-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0504: National Museums Scotland Part 2
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  T.1938.76
Date: Model: Around 1938; Original: Before 1938
Material: Bone ends, skin
Dimensions: 33.00" L x 3.13" W
What: Kayak / model
Subject: 23. SHIPPING, Native Craft (Departmental Classification)
Description: Model of a kayak with bone ends and tubular skin fitted round coaming
  • Idiens, Dale. Ethnographic Boat Models in the Royal Scottish Museum. Edinburgh: A catalogue of traditional watercraft from Africa, Asia, the Pacific and the Americas. Edinburgh: Royal Scottish Museum Information Series, 1984, p 25. 
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