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19 February 2018: Mari Kleist

On the trace of Dorset Artistic Practices

Carvings of anthropomorphic and zoomorphic portrayals are commonly found at Dorset sites (ca. 2800 BP to 700 BP) across the eastern Arctic and temperate regions of Canada and Greenland. The carvings are varied in form, shape and subject matter, but are typically represented in miniaturized portable portrayals depicting animal and human images, and tool implements. The carvings are depicted in realistic forms of expression both in attitude and movement. They exhibit different behavioral situations and subject matter suggesting carvings operated as instruments and material symbols that played a role in communicating aspects of Dorset ideology. As an example, the bear motif, the most portrayed species in Dorset art, was employed to assist the Dorset people in acquiring the polar bears predatory and spiritual abilities or to teach and remind of hunting techniques, while simultaneously signifying the Dorset spiritual connection to polar bears. In this paper, I explore the socioeconomic and historical importance of these carvings in Dorset society, and what they reveal about how Dorset people conceptualized themselves and their relationship with the world and other beings.

Monday 19 February, 19:30

Room 214, Arctic Centre, Aweg 30 Groningen

Fee: 2 euro

Last modified:14 February 2019 5.17 p.m.