Drawn to the Qulliq
‘Drawn to the Qulliq‘ by Ame Papatsie – Inuit Art from Pangnirtung 2004 print collection presented by DaVic Gallery of Native Canadian Arts.
Condition: No condition noted.
Description by Artist: No description by artist found.
Notes from DaVic Gallery: Qulliq or Kudlik (ᖁᓪᓕᖅ) is the traditional oil lamp used by Inuit. Inuit survived because of the qulliq. It was the most reliable way to make heat while hunting and camping. Typically carved from stone, it takes a rounded shape with a depression at the top to hold the seal oil used as fuel. Prior to electricity and hydro becoming available in the Arctic this lamp acted as the only source of light and heat for Inuit. During the periods of perpetual winter darkness, the qulliq would have burned almost continuously inside the house. It also doubled as a stove.
Tending to the qulliq was commonly a woman’s job and was truly an art in itself. Cubes of blubber were placed on the lamp’s concave surface. A blubber pounder was used to crush the blubber, pressing out the precious oil it contained. The lamp wick, made from moss or cotton grass, was soaked in this oil and arranged on a line along the edge of the lamp. Prior to Inuit having access to matches, they would use a bow drill or two flint stones to create a spark to ignite the lamp. Once the lamp was lit, it required constant attention and trimming to ensure that the flames were the right height, that it wasn’t producing too much smoke, and that it wouldn’t go out.
While a lit qulliq could not be placed too close to a snow wall, its heat actually helped to strengthen an igloo. The heat from the qulliq and the body heat of the Inuit in the igloo created a thin layer of melted snow on the inside wall. When the Inuit extinguished the lamp and went to sleep, this layer would freeze, making the walls even stronger.
In the early days a girl could not be married until she was able to maintain her own Qulliq.