Polar region


Kayaks were made from sealskin stretched over a driftwood or bone frame held together with strips of sealskin and wooden dowels. They could have a rounded, pointed or flat bottom. There was a narrow cockpit for the paddler, which was covered with a skirt made from whale intestine that was pulled up snug under the armpits.

In the summer, the men would paddle to the hunting area in their kayaks. The women would follow with the children, dogs, tents, clothing, cooking pots and provisions loaded into the umiak, a large, stable, flat-bottomed boat consisting of a driftwood frame covered with seal or walrus skins. A large umiak could hold up to 50 people or five tonnes of cargo.

[peinture #07028]
Danemark, Western Greenland
Book illustration, pen, on Letraset paper
Credit: Frédéric Back and Libre Expression
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