Eskimo Sunglasses

Not only is it a top pop band name, this is a proper subject.  Of course the people of the arctic regions need sunglasses.  Snow blindness, or   photokeratitisis to use its proper name, a terrible thing and these sunglasses will reduce the amount of UV light reaching the eyes and improve vision, allowing the people to hunt more easily and to basically live in the blinding whiteness of the region.

I know that Eskimo isn’t really in favour anymore and that really I should use the proper names, Yupik or Inupiat [or Inuit], but Eskimo Sunglasses is the better band name and title.

Anyway, here are some pictures of some of the sunglasses that have been made and I think they are fascinating and beautiful as well as very important for life in the Arctic snow, before us civilised folk get round to destroying it all.

The sunglasses are made from either ivory from walruses or from wood.


Old Bering Sea, Alaska 400-800 CE

These are from the Old Bering Sea, Alaska and were made in around 400-800 CE

Punuk Islands, 800 - 1200 CE

Punuk, 800-1200 CE

Punuk, 1100 - 1300 CE

Punuk Islands, 800-1200 CE

The four examples above are from the Punuk Islands and were made in around 800-1200 CE

Alaska, circa 1850

These are wooden sunglasses from Alaska and were made around 1850.  They have a small visor or peak and the eye holes are much more narrow

Alaska circa 1860-1880

These are slightly more recent than the ones above.  The eye slit is more narrow and it is much longer, giving a greater field of vision.


4 thoughts on “Eskimo Sunglasses

  1. fehadhasan says:

    Thank you.This is a nice synglass.

  2. Hallo,
    could I use one of your eskimo sunglasses fotos to print it in a schoolbook for opticians? It would be a great help!
    Birgit Harder

    • Alistair Leadbetter says:

      Hello Birgit

      They are not my photos so I can’t really say yes or no, sorry. I scanned them from a magazine about tribal art. Here’s a link to their website.

      I’m sorry I can’t help you more but I hope you find the pictures that you need

      Kind regards and best wishes


  3. Birgit says:

    Thanks for the info, Alistair!
    Keep up your nice blog.
    Best wishes

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