THE INUINNAQTUN BOW MAKING TRADITION
PITIKHIIT / THE BOWS
When Inuinnait culture was first documented by anthropologists in the early 20th century, their bow building tradition included two wooden sinew-backed bow designs. The most common, and most difficult to make was the ihualik. This bow was constructed of three bent pieces of wood joined by splices that were glued with caribou blood, and wrapped in braided sinew together with a splint and a strip of seal skin. The braided sinew wrap at the joints formed part of the braided sinew backing which covered the entire back of the bow.
Inuinnaq archer with an ihualik on Victoria Island May 19, 1916 (John Hadley/CMC/51167)
The other type of sinew-backed bow that was used by Inuinnait was made of one piece of wood. The ihuin'naqtaq style of bow was owned by only one hunter that anthropologist Diamond Jenness met during the period of 1914 to 1916. The technology for the ihuin'naqtaq was much the same as the ihualik, however without the splices and the bending and shaping of the wood.
Diagram of an Ihualik
Diagram of an Inuin'ngaqtaq
Bow made from muskox horn and antler.
Canadian Museum of History, IV-D-1277, S92-3925
Canadian Museum of History, IV-D-72, D2004-19729
Canadian Museum of History, IV-D-1789, D2005-07209