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Antique Inuit "Eskimo" Snow Goggles

Norwestern Arctic Inuit "Eskimo" Snow Goggles
1890 – 1930, 19th – 20th century
Wood, Leather, Bone Inlay
8"w x 2"h
M.878.541.3452
© Vintage Winter

Snow Goggles were a simple necessity while hunting in snow covered terrain.  Many First Nation peoples utilized eyewear protection which typically featured a tightly fitted face piece with horizontal slits for sight.  Some of the earliest and most rare to find are those carved from bone or ivory, but many were carved from wood.  The goggles photoed are carved from wood with ivory inlay.  Goggles like these not only provided a better field of view with shaded pupils but prevented snow blindness as well.

It is said that the Eskimo (Inuit) can trace their ancestry from the Thule people who existed from ~1000 - 1600AD.  The Thule people were believed to be the first to produce snow goggles in the North American Arctic.  They primarily hunted musk-ox, whale, caribou and seals hence the use of these materials in creating their now antique goggles.

 

 

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