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Catalog Data

Donor Name:
Alaska Commercial Company  Search this
Alaska Commercial Company  Search this
Eskimo  Search this
: Yup'ik  Search this
Object Type:
Kusilvak, Norton Sound / Yukon River, Mouth, Alaska, United States, North America
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From card: "Wooden visor surmounted by ivory carvings of walrus heads and tusks. On the back is mounted a fiber ring into which is inserted a half-circle of feathers. It is likely that this went on a figure that was once in this boat, so the same number. Illus. BAE 18th AR Pl. 64, fig. 18, p. 166. "... wing-like piece on each side and the head of a gull in front; the median ridge is ornamented with the ivory images of two walrus heads. The back of the visor has an oval ring of shavings projecting upward and stuck full of feathers from the tails of cormorants and old wife ducks". Trans. [from] Div. of Engineering June 12, 1947. This ... card made Sept. 9, 1947; The catalog number is also assigned to a kayak. Loaned to the Art Institute of Chicago 6/22/77. Returned 12/1/77." Kayak E160337 was sent as a gift to Peabody Museum, Yale Univ. New Haven, Conn., Nov. 6, 1947, but some kayak equipment remains in the collections, recorded as #s E160337-0 and E160337A-0.
Collins Ms. p. 737 describes the kayak 160337 and has a copy of information from accession papers relating to this kayak set. This document lists several native-language terms for the items included in the set. In 2008, Steven Jacobson, an expert in Alaskan Yup'ik language, identified the language as Central Yup'ik: "The first word is elqiaq, 'visor'; the second word is acaluq, 'kayak tray'; the third word is nuqaq, 'atlatl'; the fourth word is nanerpak, 'seal spear'; the fifth word is nuusaarpak, 'large three-pointed spear'; the sixth word might be narulkaq, 'spear'; the seventh word is tegun, 'seal recovery hook'; the eighth word is anguarun, 'paddle'; the ninth word is probably caqun, 'sealskin poke'." Many of these pieces are no longer in the collection. Kayak and equipment are also described in U.S. National Museum Bulletin 127, p. 208. Kayak is visible in photo negative # 31357 - the single hole kayak hanging on wall in right in photo.
Source of the information below: Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center Alaska Native Collections: Sharing Knowledge website, by Aron Crowell, entry on this artifact , retrieved 4-9-2013: Hunting visor Inupiaq and Yup'ik men around Norton Sound wore wooden hunting visors to shade their eyes in bright sun. The ivory carvings of walrus heads and bird beaks were charms to attract sea mammals. The ivory sidepieces on this hat are marked with concentric circles, a symbol of the cosmos where human beings, animals, and spirits all dwell. On the back of the hat is a fiber ring that holds a spray of feathers from fast-flying oldsquaw ducks.
This object is on loan to the Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center, from 2010 through 2022.
Record Last Modified:
28 Jul 2018
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Data Source:
NMNH - Anthropology Dept.