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Babiche Chair

Curated Submission
Hay River, Northwest Territories
1900 - 1907
DIMENSIONS in centimetres
34 x 31.5 x 76
Materials & techniques
Wood, babiche; Woodwork, constructed
Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre 988.007.001
This child’s chair with a netted babiche seat and back is an example of furniture made using available materials and skills. The wood elements have mortise and tenon joints, secured with pegs. Babiche is untanned hide, probably caribou in this case, cut into narrow strips; it is sometimes referred to as “rawhide.” The chair back and seat are woven in a similar fashion as the webbing in snowshoes.
It is believed that babiche chairs like this were made at some church missions in the western part of what is now the Northwest Territories, or by local people to sell to the missions. This little chair came to the museum via the family of Reverend Thomas Marsh, minister at St. Peter’s Anglican Mission in Hay River from 1900 to 1907.
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