Native America

Early Eskimo sun glasses


Q:  These are the bone goggles I told you about on the phone. I’m wondering if they are Inuit. On the back you can see an etching of a man with a whip in a sled (upper left corner) being pulled by three groups of dogs, extending to the right. There is also a hole through the bone (vein?) below the right eye.  Tom, 638

A:  Hand carved out of bone or wood, these narrow goggles with slits were used by most Eskimo hunters to protect their eyes from sunlight reflected off the snow. I’m not sure whether this pair were made by the Inuit, Yupik, Aleut or other groups of Alaskan native people. An expert in Native American artifacts might be able to estimate their age as well. Eskimo goggles like this have been used for many hundreds of years, and are still made today for sale to tourists and collectors. I like to call this a protective mask.  A

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