Arts and Crafts

Handicrafts developed through generations

Much-coveted Greenland souvenirs are figures cut out of bone or soapstone: so-called Tupilaks. The Tupilak was originally a spirit. Symbolic creations of these spirits were made by people with supernatural powers, in the sole purpose of killing or hurting their own or other people's enemies. However, the Tupilak would unfortunately turn on the sender if his motives were impure, or if the intended victim possessed even stronger magical powers. Today, Greenlandic artists such as painters, musicians and actors find inspiration in the myths and legends of the past in exiting expressions, often combining the new and old world. The colorful Greenlandic national costume with its characteristic beaded collar is still worn at festivities and at other cultural or religious celebrations.

Tupilaks as souvenirs
It is only in recent times that it has become a tradition to produce tupilaks as works of art made from materials such as wood, bone, tooth and reindeer antler points. This began to occur in the previous century when Europeans began exploring East Greenland and became aware of these small figures.??

Tupilaks are often ground and carved based on inspiration from a number of other figures from Inuit mythology, for instance the Mother of the Sea.??

Today fascinating tupilaks are sold in all tourist offices and souvenir shops. It is