In the 1970s, the Canadian government supported the Soft Sculpture or textile arts in Gjoa Haven more than the carvings or prints.
This explains why Gjoa Haven exports so many beautiful handmade wall hangings, fabric dolls, and clothes to the South.
I believe we focus on Inuit carvings and prints and have a tendency to overlook the exquisite beauty of the textile arts.
But, "dolls" have played an important cultureal role in Inuit society for centuries.
In fact, some of the early small carvings were thought to be "toys" or "dolls" made specifically to entertain Inuit children.
The art of doll making in the Arctic goes back one thousand years.
The oldest dolls ever found in Canada are over one thousand years old and were found on Bathurst Island.
At a young age, Inuit girls were taught to sew furs and skins since sewing waterproof clothing was essential to survival. They often sewed small dolls which could fit into the sleeve or pocket of their parka.
Hunters often hung small dolls on their boats.
The demeanour of this figure captures the Inuit spirit.
This doll would be a treasure for an older child. It could easily be the inspiration for a lifetime of collecting.
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