19TH C. ESKIMO CARIBOU TEETH SHAMAN'S BELT

   

Origin:  Sub Arctic, South Hampton Island, Hudson Bay    (Provenance:  Private Carmel California collection.  Scroll down to see collectors notes and black & white photo from 1958 album)

Period/Date:  Early to mid-19th century

Materials:  Leather, Caribou teeth, sinew, resin adhesive 

Description:  This important belt, power object, features 100 (ONE HUNDRED) individual sets of lower Carbou teeth!   Each row of 7-8 teeth is tightly stitched to the belt.  Notice how each set of teeth was separately prepared being reinforced with binding and resin adhesive before applying it.  It is clearly the work of a skilled and meticulous craftsman.   The belt likely had several crucial functions including summoning the power of the ancestors when worn by a shaman,  visual display of a hunter's skill, bravery and prestige.   It could be given to a younger boy for spiritual protection when hunting.   In their book "Inuit Shamanism and Christianity", Laugrand and Oosten talk about the use of Caribou teeth belts and power objects.   Scroll down to see a related piece from the same culture housed in the National Museum of Scottland.  **Please see the other two artifacts from this same collection!

Dimensions:   Length 35.5"  (90 cm), Width 1.5"  (4 cm)

Price:  sold      

Here's a museum link to a breast ornament with the same teeth made by the same cultural group.

 

 

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