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One object, a thousand stories: Reindeer fur shoes

The Finnish Local Heritage Federation has invited Finnish museums to celebrate the jubilee year of 2017 by telling the story of independent Finland through one object. In 2017, Finland has been independent for a hundred years, and the first Nordic Sámi conference was also arranged a hundred years ago, in Trondheim. The Sámi Museum Siida has chosen the reindeer fur shoes with their thousands of stories as the object of the jubilee year.

Jan 09, 2017
Every week until Dec 31, 2017
Contact Name Anni Guttorm
Contact Email
Contact Phone +358 400 891 860
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First, there was the reindeer, the cold spell, and a flash of human insight. Reindeer fur shoes are traditional Sámi winter boots that are still worn today. They represent the epitome of product development and design, and they are made completely by hand from pieces of leg skin.

Each hair of the reindeer’s fur is empty, and this makes the shoe light and warm. As a shoe that is worn in Arctic conditions, it is certainly superior to its modern rivals. Every detail of the reindeer fur shoe has a purpose. The bottom is sewn from two pieces, with the fur at the front pointing backwards and the fur at the back pointing forward: this gives the shoe a better grip. The curved tip has also had a function: it locks the shoe into a ski binding.

Earlier, you would not wear socks inside fur shoes: you would stuff them with hay. Dry hay keeps one’s feet warm and dry in the fur shoes. The hay stuffed in the shoe is called shoegrass, and it is a kind of sedge that grows on rivers. The grass is cut, softened and dried in August and then spun and twisted into a ball, fiera, for storage.

Fur shoes can be fastened either with laces or shoe bands, and their decoration patterns show which area the shoes come from.

To celebrate the centenary year of Finland and Sápmi, the Sámi Museum Siida introduces the audience to four pairs of reindeer fur shoes. The shoes and their stories are available at the Sámi Museum and Nature Centre Siida and the change of the shoes will be announced at Siidas Facebook.

Subscription URL: http://www.siida.fi/contents/exhibitions/changing-exhibitions-2010/one-object-a-thousand-stories-reindeer-fur-shoes/icalendar_export_event
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