Bear Fat Lamp

Bear Fat Lamp

Stone lamp for burning bear fat

Comprised of lamp base or bowl and wick (reed) holder. Base outside diameter 15".

The stone bear grease burner was the traditional lamp for some Yukon First Nations. This lamp was found in the Kluane lake region and probably belonged to Southern Tutchone speaking peoples. The lamp provided light, warmth and if needed a small cooking fire. The lamp was fuelled by bear fat which acted akin to wax in a common candle.

The origination of this technology is hard to trace but it is similar to the Inuit or Inuvialuit's kudlik (qulliq). A kudlik is a crescent-shaped stone lamp fuelled by the oil from animal blubber. The Northern Tutchone traded with the Inuvialuit, and could have passed this knowledge down to the Southern Tutchone who used this particular lamp. Similarly the Tlingit of British Columbia and Alaska had a stone lamp of comparable design. The oil was held in a smaller dish with a groove on the side to hold the bark or moss wick.

Institution

Kluane Museum of History, Burwash Landing

Accession Number

1970.16

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