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Native American Art

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Snow Beater

19 3/4 x 4 1/8 x 1/16 in. (50.2 x 10.5 x 0.2 cm)

Eskimo or Inuit artist
United States or Canada

Eskimo or Inuit; made in Alaska or Canada

Object Type: Woodwork
Medium and Support: Wood
Credit Line: Anonymous gift
Accession Number: 1977.203
Location: Currently on view
Link to this object

Snow beaters were used to remove snow from clothing before going indoors. An important accessory in the Arctic, they helped to keep clothing from deteriorating in the humid atmosphere inside. Due to the limited availability of wood in the region, most snow beaters were carved out of ivory and are much narrower than the wooden one on display here. However, groups that lived near the mouths of rivers in the arctic (primarily Alaska) would have access to driftwood, as would Yupik Eskimos living along the lower reaches of the Yukon and Kuskokwim Rivers where there were stands of trees.
[Gallery label text, 2009]

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