Research Items

    Abstract

    Eskimo Rock-Paintings. Miss Frederica de Laguna in the course of her recent investigations among the Eskimo, of Alaska discovered at Cook Inlet in the south-west of Alaska a number of rock-paintings in rock-shelters which she has recently described (J. Soc. Ameéricanistes, Paris, N.S., 25, fasc. 1). No similar rock-paintings are known to occur elsewhere among the Eskimo and they have an individual style which differentiates them from the petroglyphs found among the Eskimo of south-east Alaska and among the Indians of the interior of British Columbia. The paintings here described are from four shelters, of which three are on Kachemak Bay and the fourth in Tuxedni Bay on the western side of Cook Inlet. The drawings are in silhouette in red haematite mixed with fat. Some seem to have been made with the finger or a stick, others with a finer instrument. Except in one instance (Sadie Cove), there is no effort at composition, nor are all the figures on the same scale. Among the subjects represented are men, boats with occupants, birds, of which the species can sometimes be distinguished, whales (possibly), animals wounded by lances, seals and a pregnant woman. The object of the paintings does not seem to have been purely artistic as they are never situated near habitations. Various explanations were offered by the Eskimo, such as that they were intended to convey information about game and hence they were made on a small scale and well hidden so that the infonnation should not be available for those for whom it was not intended. Another explanation connected them with the hunting rites of the sorcerer whale-hunters, who use the fat of human victims as poison for their lances. On the other hand, it is pointed out that the Indians of British Columbia make rock drawings as a record of initiation rites or of objects seen in their visions.

    Rights and permissions

    Reprints and Permissions

    About this article

    Comments

    By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.