Inuit Art

November 20, 2018

LOT 48

Lot 48

Lot 48 Details


4.7" x 23.6" x 9.8" — 12 x 60 x 25 cm.

Estimate $1,000-$1,500

Realised: $2,160
Price Includes Buyer's Premium ?

Lot Report


Galerie D’Art Esquimau, Montreal, 1990


Soft soapstone was easy to carve into a bowl that could be used for a seal-oil lamp (qulliq). One end of a wick made from moss was dipped into the bowl of seal oil. When the other end was lit, the lamp provided light and heat inside an igloo or skin tent.

Traditional Inuit used a bow-drill...with the drill bit removed, or other similar inventions to produce fire. The drill stick was rotated quickly while it was pushed down upon. This created friction, which produced enough heat to start a flame.

While a lit qulliq could not be placed too close to a snow wall, its heat actually helped to strengthen an igloo. The heat from the qulliq and the body heat of the Inuit in the igloo created a thin layer of melted snow on the inside wall. When the Inuit extinguished the lamp and went to sleep, this layer would freeze, making the walls even stronger.

The Inuit Thought of It: Amazing Arctic Innovations. Volume XIV Number 8, December 7, 2007


Condition report available upon request

LOT 48

About Condition Ratings

  • 5 Stars: Excellent - No discernable damage, flaws or imperfections
  • 4 Stars: Very Good - Minor flaws or imperfections visible only under close inspection using specialised instruments or black light
  • 3 Stars: Good - Minor flaws visible upon inspection under standard lighting
  • 2 Stars: Fair - Exhibits flaws or damage that may draw the eye under standard lighting
  • 1 Star: Poor - Flaws or damage immediately apparent under standard lighting (examples: missing components, rips, broken glass, damaged surfaces, etc.)

Note: Condition ratings and condition details are the subjective opinions of our specialists and should be used as a guide only. Waddington’s uses due care when preparing condition details, however, our staff are not professional restorers or conservators. Condition details and reports are not warranties and each lot is sold “as is” in accordance with the buyer’s terms and conditions of sale. In all cases the prospective purchaser is responsible for inspecting the property themselves prior to placing a bid.