Skull and pin game - ROM2005_5520_1


Skull and pin game

Maker: Nunatsiarmiut or Nunavimiut
Medium:Arctic hare skull, bone, sinew
Geography: Nunavut or Quebec, Canada
Date: 1910-1914
4.3 x 23 x 5 cm
Object number: HC2034
Credit Line: Gift of Sir William Mackenzie; The Robert J. Flaherty Collection
On view
Gallery Location:Daphne Cockwell Gallery dedicated to First Peoples art & culture

During the winter or when bad weather prevents travel, the Inuit relate stories and play games. One game consists of a bone pin and Arctic hare skull drilled with holes. The skull is swung into the air and the player is to catch the skull with the pin through one of the holes. Each hole has a different value and there is an order for the piercing of each hole.

In 1910, the Canadian Northern Railway commissioned Robert J. Flaherty (1884 – 1951) to search for iron ore deposits along the northeast coast of Hudson's Bay. Flaherty visited the Arctic over several years during which he collected a wide range of Inuit artifacts. He became interested in filming Inuit life and his popular 1922 silent film, Nanook of the North, garnered him acclaim as a documentary film pioneer.

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