Lot: 43

"Naqugutet" women's belt, before 1913

Alaska, Yupik

Provenance Size Hammer price
Gottlieb Adolf Stecker (1859-1939)
Family property, Eibau, Germany
German private collection (acquired from the family)

The collector of the artifacts, Gottlieb Adolf Stecker (1859-1939), was a Herrnhut missionary and served in Labrador (1884-1895) and Alaska (1901-1913). The present artifacts were collected during his stay in Alaska and come from his brother's personal possessions.

The Herrnhut Mission encouraged its brothers to have objects made for sale. In the Museum für Völkerkunde in Dresden (entrance before 1927) and in the Völkerkunde Museum Herrnhut (entrance before 1910 / 11) there are 92 works today with his social biography, which he sold to the museums.
L: 53.1 inch;
B: 2 inch
700 EUR

leather, metal, pearls, teeth (caribou),

Belts decorated with teeth were considered objects of high social prestige in the Arctic cultures. Every woman had such a belt made by her husband. The belt represented her husband's success as a hunter. The belt bears 124 sets of teeth of the caribou.

The belts were also believed to have healing powers, especially if they were passed down through generations. It was believed that the caribou teeth would "clear a path through the sick body's illness and relieve it of all pain".


Varjola, Pirjo, The Etholén Collection, The ethnographic Alaskan collection of Adolf Etholén and his contemporaries in the National Museum of Finland, Helsinki 1990, p. 262, ill. 436-438