In the Arctic, people made water-repellent coats or parkas from sea mammal intestines. Most museum examples are stiff and flattened after years of storage, but this gut parka is exceptionally well-preserved, in part because of the excellent care provided by the Reeves.
In the Arctic, water-repellent parkas were traditionally made of seal mammal intestines such as Bearded Seal, Walrus and Sea Lion. This 19th-century example is very well preserved and the vertical layout of the sewn panels indicates it could be from either Canada or Alaska. The parka would be linked with the Eskimo-Aleut linguistic group in Alaska, but in Canada it would be Inuit, the name preferred by the First Nations of Canada living in the Arctic.
Curator, Latin American Art and Archaeology
Florida Museum of Natural History
Made by Eskimo (Alaska) or Inuit (Canada)
Dates to ~19th century
Gift of I.S.K Reeves & Sara W. Reeves