The qulliq is a traditional inuit lamp a source of light,cooking and heat.
Le qulliq, lampe/PÔALE/FOURNESE de pierre Inuit.Elle qui évoque la lumière et la chaleur associées à la famille et à la collectivité.
Learn about this vital part of Inuit survival. The Qulliq (oil lamp) provided so much to families trying to survive in one of the harshest climates on the planet. A seemingly simply invention with such importance also brought families together in many ways
The Kudlik - a Multi-Purpose Lamp
A kudlik (qulliq) is a crescent-shaped lamp carved from stone and fuelled by the oil from animal blubber. A wick made of moss or Arctic cotton draws the oil to make a type of liquid candle, and the open stone lamp was used by the Inuit to light and heat tents or igloos, melt snow for water, dry clothing and cook food.
Purpose: This stone lamp was filled with seal oil to provide heat and light for the home and for a cooking stove.
Method: The lamp was carved from soapstone. A moss wick was added together with oil from any animal. A stick, know as a taqqut, helps to dip the wick into the oil to increase the flame.
The soapstone is carved to form a rounded shape, with a depression at the top to hold the fuel. The Qulliq burns seal oil as fuel. For our Inuit ancestors, Qulliit were the only source of light and heat.
Before Inuit moved into houses in villages and hamlets;
Before Inuit had diesel-fueled powerhouses;
Before Inuit had electric lights and stoves;
Inuit had the qulliq.
Inuit used the qulliq for light.
Inuit used the qulliq for heat.
Kudlik (also qulliq) is a type of oil lamp used by the Inuit. The lamp consists of a crescent-shaped cup of carved soapstone, filled with oil from blubber or seal. Moss, Arctic or Common Cottongrass are used as a wick.
The Inuit use the kudlik for illuminating and heating their tents and igloos, for melting snow, cooking, and drying their clothes. It is also used for ceremonial purposes.
The qulliq was used to melt snow and drinking water, make tea, boil meat, and make bannock. The qulliq was also used for drying different things, such as mittens and boots, or the moss that was used as diapers. Fox skins and sealskins were dried by placing them in a paugusiit [drying rack] near a qulliq.
Seal oil was used to fuel the qulliq. Oil from beluga whales could also be used. Beluga fat is called qilalukkigaq. It burns without any soot and makes a high, clean flame. Some people say qilalukkigaq burns best.
Seal fat was kept stored in seal skin pouches called puurtaq. After the Qallunaat arrived, the Inuit sometimes stored seal oil in big empty oil drums. To prepare the seal oil, seal fat was placed outdoors above the paaq [igloo entrance] to freeze. When it was frozen solid, it was crushed [kaugaqsituq] and then used to fuel the qulliq.
If there were not very many seal available, there would not be very much oil for the qulliq. If Inuit ran out of seal oil for the qulliq, they would have to make other arrangements for heat and light. After the white traders had arrived, the Inuit could make a fire in a cut-off oil drum right in the porch in winter. They cut a hole in the roof of the porch so that the smoke could exit. The porch fire was used to melt ice for water, to boil codfish, and to cook seal meat. This kind of a cooking set-up was called an Igaliq [cookhouse].
An igloo without a burning qulliq would become very frosty inside. It would be both dark and cold.
The winter solstice marks a turning point, as the longest night of the year gives way to the return of spring and summer. No matter where people live, when it's frozen and dark outside, critical needs must be met: shelter and sustenance. Warmth and light. The company of others. Way up North, back in igloo times, the solution to most of that was the qulliq, or stone oil lamp. Although the qulliq has fallen out of general use, it's still a revered symbol of cultural ingenuity.the care and use of an Inuit stone oil lamp, while thinking about qualities it still illuminates today.
Arctic cotton is a type of grass that produces silky white plumes that resemble cotton balls. Inuit children picked the "cotton" in the summer for use as wicks and mattress stuffing.