Thursday 10 February 2011

Kamleikas - Inuit Seal Gut Parkas.

In the British Museum a couple of weeks ago we saw these Inuit seal gut parkas, it was a bit of a wrangle with the hoards of school children but I manged to elbow my way to the front to take a few wobbly photographs.
The Inuit made these parkas from seal intestines, ideal fabric as once dried it breathes from the inside and repels water on the outside. They would stitch their parka to the edge of their canoe, creating a watertight seam. Decorated with puffin beaks, beads and feathers and finished with a functional drawstring at the hood and cuffs, the parkas look like something from the current 'Future Beauty' Japanese Fashion exhibition at the Barbican, rather than original pieces from the late nineteenth century.
Prized by whalers who found the light weight shells far more comfortable for work than than their oilskins, the parkas traded at a high price.

And a special Thank You to the kindly person who handed my purse into lost property.