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WILLIAM J FISHER COLLECTION
UGASHIK BEADED BELT WORN AROUND WAIST OF WOMEN

COLLECTOR'S DOCUMENTATION:
"Belt worn around waist by women"

-William Fisher

BLACK LINE CATALOG NO:  72470
OBJECT TYPE: woman's beaded skin belt

REMARKS:
This exquisite belt from the village of Ugashik (see matching earrings 72465 and necklace 72467) is heavily beaded and includes dangling brass cartridges attached to a very soft, tanned caribou base with fine, braided sinew thread. The extensive beading indicates the owner was an Alutiiq woman of high status, as beads were extremely valuable trade items.

Dorothy Jean Ray notes that in some southern and western Alaska Native cultures, women's belts expressed both sacred and social realities. Belts worn by Unangan widows or pubescent girls in the Aleutian Islands were believed to have curative powers, marking both the significance of the life cycle in Unangam thought, and the role of women in promoting the health and well-being of community members. In western Alaska, Yup'ik caribou incisor belts were also thought to have healing powers. Generally comprised of a single row of overlapping incisor sets, they were used to fasten a baby to the mother's back. In addition, the number of incisors communicated the hunting success of a woman's husband, with some belts including as many as two or three rows of incisor sets.

-Dee Hunt

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CATALOG NUMBER:

72470

OBJECT TYPE:

woman's beaded skin belt

ACCESSION NO.:

12209 (1882)

YEAR COLLECTED:

1879-1882

FIELD NUMBER:

7

GROUP NAME:

Ugaasarmiut

GROUP NAME RECORDED BY FISHER:

UGASHAGMIUT TRIBE

LOCATION:

Ugaasaq (Ugashik)

LOCATION RECORDED BY FISHER:

UGASHAK RIVER, BRISTOL BAY, ALASKA

NATIVE LANGUAGE TERM:

naqugun (Yup'ik)

NATIVE LANGUAGE TERM RECORDED BY FISHER:

NA-KO-GUN

DIMENSIONS:

L=118 cm; W=8.5 cm

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