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Maker Once Known
Pair of Dolls Pair of Dolls
Around 1979 Around 1979

The Inuit and their ancestors have been making dolls for centuries, and many different types exist. Hunters might have mounted a doll on the front of their boat for good luck, and young girls made play dolls in order to help them develop skills in preparing and sewing clothes. In more recent years, dolls are produced as souvenirs for southern tourists; play dolls have all but died out as a result of the settlement period. While these two examples may appear to be children’s toys, they were made explicitly for purchase by southern tourists or collectors.

These two dolls demonstrate one of the key characteristics of Inuit collectors dolls, that is they wear clothes that are representative of traditional garments and reflect the styles of the region from which they are produced. While one doll wears fur and skin clothes, the second wears a cotton dress. This change occurred once fabrics were imported from the south and began to replace the more traditional materials. Before this increased exposure to southern materials mid-century, earlier Inuit dolls used almost any available material including sinew, fur, skin, beads, teeth, etc.

Maker Once Known
c. 1979 c. 1979
Pair of Dolls Pair of Dolls
Around 1979 Around 1979
Sealskin, cotton, duffel, thread, leather Sealskin, cotton, duffel, thread, leather
37.4 x 17.8 x 5.1 cm
Gift of Guardian Capital Group Limited, 2020 Gift of Guardian Capital Group Limited, 2020
63-015.54a-b

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