Niġiñiutit: Traditional Nunamiut Household Cooking Utensils

Bowls, platters, and trays















A vital part of the family outfit were puggutaq: round or oval serving dishes for cooked, raw or frozen meat.  The largest bowls, best suited to contain meat and broth, were usually carved from mumiġnaq, the large basal roots of the spruce tree.

The deep bowl or puggutaq pictured here was collected by Murdoch.  It is 13 7/8 inches long, 12 ½ inches wide and 3 7/8 inches high.

Smaller bowls were sometimes made from piŋalu, the thick, densely grained, rounded burls that sometimes grow like warts on the trunks of spruce. These burls were chopped free with an ulimaun, then stripped of their bark. Their interior was hollowed out with a millik or crooked knife, and finally the bottoms were flattened to give them a steady base.


This example, again collected by Murdoch, is 17 ½ inches across and stands 2 5/8 inches high.  A close look at the convoluted wood grain in the bottom of the bowl is a clear indication of its origin as a piŋalu burl.

There was also a flatter puggutaq known as an alluiyaq or puggutaq-alluiyaq which was also used to serve meat and fish, though not well suited to hold broth. This example from the Murdoch collection is 35 3/8 inches long and 9 1/8 inches wide.