Alaska Native Collections – Sharing Knowledge

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Bow drill

ingciraarcuutet “engraving tools”
Language: Central Yup'ik

A traditional drill was powered by the back-and-forth motion of its bow, which was transmitted to the spindle by a leather strap, making it spin. The craftsman steadied the top of the spindle with a wooden bearing that he gripped firmly in his mouth, leaving one hand free to hold the piece being drilled. Stone drill bits were replaced by steel or iron bits in historic times. This set includes extra spindles with different sizes of bits.

Culture: Yup’ik
Region: Southwest Alaska
Object Category: Tools
Dimensions: Length (of bow): 35.5cm
Accession Date: 1970 (collected before 1925)
Source: Fenley Hunter (collector)
Museum: National Museum of the American Indian
Museum ID Number: 243660.000