Canadian, 19th–20th century
Two Women Carrying Meat in Tub, 1892–1901
ivory, black colouring, red colouring, yellow colouring, string
5.4 x 7.7 x 1.5 cm
Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery; The Cotter Collection, Acquired with funds from an anonymous donor
The medium of ivory has a long history as a carving material amongst tundra dwelling peoples from Siberia to Greenland. The carving of ivory was a well-developed skill of the Labrador Inuit in the nineteenth century. There was a long history of trading with Moravian missionaries from Europe who established the first of several permanent missions at Nain, Newfoundland and Labrador, in 1771. This carving is one of 58 acquired in the 1890s by Hudson’s Bay Company employee James Alma Wilson while he was based at the Inuit community of Rigolet. The collection remained in the possession of the family for several decades and was acquired by the WAG in 1991 from George and Sally Cotter of Winnipeg. The tiny miniatures are carved in exquisite detail and coloured with natural plant dyes.