Caribou-skin model of a hunter


British Museum

British Museum

This is likely to have been a model made for sale at a fur trading post, but it could also have been a playdoll designed to educate children. The hunter wears face-paint, of the kind that would have been worn by a chief on special occasions. This may have been a ritual ceremony, or the more mundane, but very important business of the fur trade.

He wears summer costume, made of caribou skin, with an all-in-one trouser moccasin, and a beaded shirt or tunic. The yoke of the tunic and leggings are decorated with beadwork, while the belt is of loom-woven quillwork. Strips of quillwork were widely used for appliqué decoration: they were created on a loom, a bent stick strung with sinew warps providing the tension.

The model came to The British Museum from the collection of the Marquis of Lorne. Lord Lorne was Governor-General of Canada in the 1880s. He was married to Queen Victoria's daughter Princess Louise, whose second name was given to the province of Alberta.

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  • Title: Caribou-skin model of a hunter
  • Date Created: 1800/1899
  • Physical Dimensions: Height: 45.00cm; Width: 20.00cm
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Technique: beadwork; painted; quillwork
  • Registration number: Am1887,1208.17
  • Place: Found/Acquired North America. Found/Acquired Yukon, River
  • Peoples: Made by Subarctic Peoples. Made by Athapaskan
  • Other information: Cultural rights may apply.
  • Material: skin; hair; glass; porcupine quill
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: Purchased from Campbell, John Douglas Sutherland