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Sinews of Survival: The Living Legacy of Inuit Clothing [Paperback]

Betty Kobayashi Issenman
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

January 1, 1998 0774805994 978-0774805995 Reprint
Betty Issenman examines all aspects of winter and summer Inuit clothing, going back 4000 years, with particular emphasis on northern Canadian Inuit. She also describes the kinds of material and tools used to make the clothing. The focus is on on Inuit clothing as protection, identity, and culture bearer, roles it has played for thousands of years. No other book brings together contemporary and historical material from the circumpolar worlds with original research. Sinews of Survival is a fascinating study of Inuit clothing, past and present. It includes over 200 illustrations of various kinds of clothing. The voices of the Inuit are heard throughout the text in quotations from consultations and the literature. By describing one component of Inuit society, the author opens a pathway to understanding the culture as a whole.

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Editorial Reviews


With in-depth research supplemented by numerous detailed black-and-white photos and pattern drawings, Issenman presents an excellent overview of how Inuit (Eskimo) clothing embodies social, artistic, and spiritual values of peoples in four circumpolar areas....Extensive bibliography and useful glossary - B.B. Chico, Regis University , Choice, March 1998, Vol 35, No. 7 ... generous and comprehensive work....a breathtaking gallop athrough the world of aboriginal fur fashion....a serious academic treatment of a complex and difficult subject, but it's easy to forget the footnotes, indexes and glosses, and lose oneself in the hundreds of illustrations....a great deal here to interest lovers of art and fashion.... The next time a gale of horizontal sleet comes sweeping down from the north, give some thought to how our ancestors managed to stay warm before the invention of Gore-tex. Issenman's Sinews of Survival has all the answers. - Robin McGrath, Sunday Telegram, April 5, 1998 Makes [the story of continent-wide migrations, adaptations to harsh environments, and dramatic climate change come alive. ... This most enjoyable book tells a tale of epic proportions and will appeal to anyone with an interest in the North and its history. - John Wilson, Quill & Quire

About the Author

Betty Kobayashi Issenman is a well-known specialist in Inuit clothing, a subject on which she has written and lectured extensively. From 1978 to 1988 she researched and catalogued the Artic clothing collections at the McCord Museum in Montreal, Quebec, and in 1988-1989 she was the guest curator at the museum of an exhibition of Inuit clothing called 'Ivalu: Traditions du vetement inuit/Traditions of Inuit Clothing'

Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: UBC Press; Reprint edition (January 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0774805994
  • ISBN-13: 978-0774805995
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 8.4 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,665,504 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars History at its best March 20, 2006
The history of the Inuit has always fascinated me and this book, "Sinews of Survival", lends incredible insight into the form and function of their clothing. It would appear that they had something much more effective than Gore-Tex, among other things. The text and the pictures are excellent and I would urge anyone interested in life above the Arctic Circle to add this book to their library.
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4.0 out of 5 stars cold clothing October 6, 2007
By omurphy
being a year round motorcyclist, i've always wanted a pair of inuit mittens. well this book tells what to make them from, when to harvest it, how to align it and a pattern to cut it. what to sew it with. this book provides descriptions of artic clothing, patterns and what to make it from. much of the process informatiom was over my head as i am not a seamster, but it's a very interesting book just the same.
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