Model, of inflatable raft

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from Peru

Postcard of Model, of inflatable raft.
© National Museums Scotland

Model, of inflatable raft

This wooden painted model is of an inflatable raft from 1800. The raft would have been used in the surf off the coastal waters of Peru and Chile. The model is built to a scale of 1:6 and was reconstructed in the museum workshops, on the basis of early travellers' accounts.

The original would have been made of sealskin floats coated with clay and oil to make them waterproof. The pouches of seal hide would have been filled with sand or reeds to achieve the required shape and then sun-dried before the filling was removed. Each float would have had a tube to allow for re-inflation in case of air escaping.

Traditional watercraft were generally not highly developed in South America. In many regions, lack of suitable timber restricted boat development.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-180-002-047-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.1938.144
Date: Model: 1938; Original: 1800
Material: Wood
What: Float, seal-hide / model
Subject: 23. SHIPPING, Native Craft (Departmental Classification)
Who: J. Grieve, Royal Scottish Museum, Edinburgh (Model maker)
Where: CHILE
Scotland, Midlothian, Edinburgh
Description: Model formed of painted wood of seal-hide floats of Chile, to a scale of about 1 1/2 inches to 1 foot
  • 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 30. 
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