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Suit of armour from the Anadyr Chukchis
VK4991-20
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

The suits of armour of the indigenous peoples of Northeastern Siberia are distinguished by three types of materials: leather, bone and iron structures. This suit belongs to the iron type. The upper part is made of a rectangular main shield. The shield is composed of two wooden boards covered with leather. On both the main shield and the wing, the decorations are painted in red, probably either with ochre or a mixture of ochre and blood. Painting on leather has a long tradition, however, very few examples have been preserved. The suit of armour was made between 1740–1771. In 1740 the war between the Chukchis and the united Russians and Koryaks was more intensive and in 1771 the fort of Anadyrsk, the base of the early colonization of Chukotka, was liquidated. This suit containing a composition of this war is a rarity in museum collections. In addition, the painting has a considerable artistic value.

History of the Object
The suit of armour was acquired by Sakari Pälsi (1882–1965), archaeologist, ethnologist, author, photographer. Pälsi undertook long research expeditions to Mongolia, Northeastern Siberia, Canada and the Balkans. In Northeastern Siberia in 1917–1919 he studied many of the indigenous peoples, including the Chukchis, Koryaks, Inuit, Kamchadals and Evens. He acquired a collection of over 200 objects for the National Museum of Finland on this expedition, in addition to having drawings made by local inhabitants. This suit of armour was probably obtained in July 1917 when Pälsi was dealing in furs and staying at a fishing station at the mouth of the Anadyr river.

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Type
Other 
Materials
Wood; reindeer (?) leather; walrus bone; strips of iron 
Measurements
Width 49 cm Length 125 cm  
Creator name
unknown 
Creator date
Unknown 
Where it was made
Russia; Northeastern Siberia, Anadyr River 
Geography
Russia; Siberia 
Time period
AD 18th century ~ AD 18th century 
Creation date
18th Century; Probably between 1740–1771 
Function
The suit of armour claimed by the Chukchis from the Kamchadals as spoils. In the 18th century the Chukchis fought against the Koryaks supported by Russian Cossacks and the Kamchadals settling in the region. The Chukchi was the last aboriginal people in Northeastern Siberia to resist Russian colonization. 
Acquisition
Acquired to the National Museum of Finland in 1921 
Copyright
 
Acknowledgements
Text by Ildikó Lehtinen Photos Markku Haverinen 2006 Bogoras, Waldemar. The Chukchee.I. Material culture. Memoirs of the American Museum of Natural History: The Jesup North Pacific Expedition 7. Leiden-New York. Janhunen, Juha. Sakari Pälsi, collector of arctic art. Suomen Museo 90, Helsinki 1983. Janhunen, Juha. A suit of armour from the north-eastern Siberia. Journal de la Société Finno-Ougrienne 79. Helsinki 1984. Jochelson, Waldemar. The Koryak. Memoirs of the American Museum of Natural History: The Jesup North Pacific Expedition 6. Leiden-New York Pälsi, Sakari. Pohjankävijän päiväkirjasta: matkakuvauksia Beringiltä, Anadyrilta ja Kamtshatkasta. Helsinki 1912. 
Owner
State property, National Board of Antiquities, Finland 
Museum
Museum of Cultures, National Museum of Finland 
Credit line
 

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