Model kayak with doll holding paddle

Contributed by The Hunterian

Model kayak with doll holding paddle

Kayaks were used throughout the North American Arctic and also in eastern Siberia for hunting sea mammals. The Alutiiq made baidarka, two man kayaks, for hunting and whaling. A prominent feature of a baidarka is its forked bow. Baidarkas are very lightweight, fast and easy to manoeuvre. They were made out of seal skin stretched over a frame made of wood and bone, which was tied together with tough animal sinew.

The doll is too large for the seating hole and an Alutiiq visitor has told us that the doll is actually from Greenland and does not go with this baidarka. The Hunterian has three of these model kayaks in its collection so it seems that the dolls have been mixed up at some time in the past. Although there is no documentary evidence it is possible that this model was obtained from the third voyage of Captain James Cook which explored the west coast of North America.

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Mid-late 18th century


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