Inuit woman’s parka made from several pattern pieces of caribou hide sewn together with sinew thread. The parka has been decorated with cloth embroidered with glass beads, strips of woollen cloth (bias tape)and fringes. Pendants made from glass beads and pieces of metal were suspended from the fringes located in the back area.
This particular example is an inner parka or atigi. It is termed an “amautik” because of a shallow pouch that has been created in the middle back area of the parka. This pouch was used by a mother to carry her infant next to her body. “Amautik” is an Inuktitut word meaning “to carry.”
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This atigi originated in the Cape Dorset area situated on the southeastern coast of Baffin Island. A complete set of Inuit clothing consisted of a parka, pants, mittens and footwear that were worn in several layers during the winter.
For example, two parkas would be layered over one another. The inner parka (atigi) was worn with the hair side next to the body, while the outer parka (qulittaq) was worn over top of the atigi with the hair side of the caribou hide facing out.
The pockets of air trapped between the layers of clothing helped to provide warmth. In addition, caribou hair has a hollow core that adds further insulation from the cold.
The Hudson’s Bay Company established a post at Cape Dorset in 1913, and the local Inuit conducted trade in arctic fox furs until the market collapsed in 1949. In 1953, several Inuit from the region began to produce carvings and prints under the instruction of artist James Houston.