Friday, 8 January 2010

Snow blind in Norfolk

I hope that everyone had a good Christmas and has made it to the New Year unscathed. I am presently hibernating from the freezing temperatures and copious amounts of snow we have in North Norfolk and venturing out to the workshop only under duress, having first put the heater on for at least an hour before doing so.

The snow has got me thinking though. Living within 20 miles of Norwich I often go to the the Sainsbury Centre for the Visual Arts . This has a fine collection spanning 5000 years of human creativity and not surprisingly this collection contains eyewear. To be specific it contains a certain type of eyewear pertinent to the snowy weather that is currently affecting us – Snow Goggles

In the Arctic, the sun shines low on the horizon twenty-four hours a day for nearly 190 days of the summer ( I thought it was bad here after a fortnight !!). To combat snow blindness which occurs when the sunlight reflects off the surface of the snow combines with the light angled directly into the eyes so burning the retina, the local tribes came up with the snow goggle.
This consisted of eyewear fashioned from bone, antlers, leather or wood carved to fit the curvature of the head and across the nose with two slits for the eyes. The frame was then held in place with animal sinew. The slits allowed them to see, but blocked enough light to prevent snow blindness.
According to the Canada’s National History Society the first snow goggles date back to the Thule Inuit, two thousand years ago.

Below is a picture of one of the frames in the Sainsbury collection.

Snow goggles. North America, Bering Sea. Punuk period, c. AD 500-1200. Walrus ivory. w. 13.1 x h. 3.5 x d. 2.5 cm. Acquired 1982. Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Collection. UEA 830

Bering Sea
Object category
Implement, NA (prehistoric eskimo)
Walrus ivory
Height 35 mmWidth 131 mmDepth 25 mm

Now while researching this I came across probably the best pair of Snow Goggles that you could own in these credit crunching days:

So come Visa expiry date watch out for the coolest pair of Spex - eat your heart out Kanye West you're 2000 years out of date - go Google a goggle!!

So stay warm and keep an eye on the blog as it's monocles next.


No comments:

Post a Comment