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Manuel Lima (M)
London, UK
Immortal since Dec 12, 2007
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    Inuit Wood Maps
    In 2000 Kalaallit Nunaat (Greenland) issued a stamp with a wooden map as a part of the Cultural Heritage series:

    “...wood was, and is, the most distinctive medium used by the Greenland Eskimos in mapmaking. Blocks are carved in relief to represent the rugged coastline of Greenland with its fjords, islands, nunataks and glaciers, the shapes of the various islands being linked together with rods. In order to reduce the size of the blocks, the outline of the coast is carried up one side and down the other.”

    Leo Bagrow, History of Cartography. Revised and enlarged by R.A. Skelton. Cambridge, Harvard U. Press, 1960, p. 27.

    Three-dimensional maps of coastlines were carved of wood as long as three hundred years ago. These Inuit charts were usually carved from driftwood and are made to be felt rather than looked at. The Inuit hold this map under their mittens and feel the contours with their fingers to discern patterns in the coastline. The land is very abstract. It is limited to “edges” that can be felt on a dark night in a kayak. Since they are made of wood they are impervious to the weather, and will float if they are dropped overboard accidentally. It will also last longer that one that is printed.

    Mon, Feb 11, 2008  Permanent link

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         Mon, Feb 11, 2008  Permanent link
    What I just noticed here is that learning about this kind of cool aboriginal technology amazes me just as much as any advances in technology of the present. We really should be taking more hints from this kind of stuff.
    wilfriedhoujebek     Tue, Feb 12, 2008  Permanent link
    Related: Polynesian Stick Charts.