A museum kayak in Lund
Yesterday Martin Nissen and I spent a couple of hours measuring the old kayak in Lund – the one Magnus Åström "found" in the attic of The Historical Museum – unknown in the kayaking community and never mentioned before in museum lists. An irony is that I have spent a lot of time with books in historical kayaks by Howard Chapelle, John Heath, John Brandt, Eugene Arima, David Zimmerly, H C Petersen, Harvey Golden, Martin Nissen et al – totally unaware that I have lived for 30 years less than two miles from one of the oldest kayaks in the world.
The kayak was not as well preserved as it had appeared from the first superficial glance – the ribs behind the isserfiq are almost entirely eaten away, with the consequence that the aft part of the hull is deformed, the centerline is a double s-shape, the masik is broken etc. But it is still very evident that this is an extremely delicate and elegant kayak – built for a small man, with a mind set on low hull weight and an eye for lines and proportions.
The beauty of the kayak reminded me of a dissertation a couple of years ago at the Gothenburg University named: "Mobilitet och estetik. Nuukfjorden på Grönlands västkust som människornas livsvärld för cirka 4000 år sedan – ("Mobility and estetics in Nuuk at the Greenland West Coast 4000 years ago"; unavailable at the University site now). The author was struck by the beauty and elegance that was always strongly felt at archeological sites on the greenland west coast – a beauty of hunting implements, household tools etc, reminding of Japanese wabi-sabi or the obvious and natural beauty of Shaker objects.