the shetland boat

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The Shetland Boat. an Iconic Folk Material, Cultural Object ?. Marc Chivers, Post Graduate Research Student. The B ød , Hillswick . . Note the vast quantity of fish curing on the drying beach. T hree sixerns are drawn up the beach. P hoto : John Irvine, C. 1880. Shetland Museum & Archive. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


The Shetland Boat

The Shetland Boatan Iconic Folk Material, Cultural Object?

Marc Chivers, Post Graduate Research StudentThe Bd, Hillswick.

Note the vast quantity of fish curing on the drying beach. Three sixerns are drawn up the beach.Photo: John Irvine, C. 1880. Shetland Museum & ArchiveGokstad ship

Photo: Viking Ship Museum, OsloGokstad fring & seksring

Photo: Viking Ship Index A newly built Oselver fringBjrnevik, H, F. (online) Available from [20 May 2014]

Fishing yoals, unloading saithe Grutness pier, Dunrossness

Goudie, G. (1915) Photo: Shetland Museum & Archive.Yoal racing at Sandwick regatta

Photo: Shetland Museum & ArchiveBroad tangible themesThe construction and design of the boats were Norwegian in origin up until around 1750. These Norwegian boat forms and their method of construction made the boats suited for their operational environment.Derivatives of these boats are still in use today.

The broad intangible themes

Shetland sailors gained an international reputation as excellent seaman.The Shetland sixern achieved iconic status through the fact that most Shetland men led a fishing life and used these boats up until the mid to late 1880s.The iconic status of the sixern is maintained through documented stories and images of these boats.

Shetland contextTraditional assumption that the Norwegians continued to use the frings and seksrings when they settled.Were these small boats imported were they constructed in Shetland?The later Shetland boats evolved for a purpose and without the purpose (fishing) they will not have developed.

Shetland contextCurrent evidence suggests that commercial boatbuilding did not begin in Shetland until the early 19th century.Earliest Norwegian import evidence 1566-67.Boat imports were tax free until 1575.

Shetland contextPre-existing boat imports prior to 1566 is assumed because Shetland has no timber resources of its own.1807 Napoleonic war and the British blockade of Norwegian ports is assumed to be the starting point for boat building in Shetland.Current evidence suggests that the sixern and fourern developed at some point between 1750 and 1836.Not known when the Fair Isle and Ness Yoal developed.

The Jltebadde or Hjeltebt 1836 boats called Jltebadde (prototype sixern) no one knows what they looked like. Jltebadde or Hjeltebt developed because fishermen had to travel further to the fishing grounds. Haaf is Old Norse and means ocean.White fish stocks by 1750 were 40-50 miles offshore.

The Sixern and Fourern

Sixareen Industry racing at Walls. Photo: Shetland Museum & Archive

Peterson, J. (1951) Fouareen Aurora, Walls.Photo: Shetland Museum & ArchiveMaterial CultureDefinitionThe objects that man has learned to make are traditionally termed material culture. Culture is intellectual, rational and abstract; it cannot be material, but material can be cultural and material culture embraces those segments of human learning which provide a person with plans, methods, and reasons for producing things which can be seen and touched. (Glassie 1968: 2).Folk material cultural objectDefinitionThe objects form is incorporated into the tradition of the culture in which it was created. (Glassie 1968: 2).

Carving the halsane

Iconic images

Iconic ImageryParkers four-point definition for the term cultural Icon.

Cultural icons are always images.These images are distinct, durable, and reproducible.They reside in the collective memory of large groups of people.They reveal discernible tragic-dramatic narratives that are formed and received by communities particularly receptive to the development of iconic meaning.(Parker, 2012: 12)

Primary Cultural Icon distinct images; they have durability that reflects their cultural value; a mental image of the icon can be reproduced from the name prompt, and vice versa (reproducibility); and they are inseparable from natural tragic-dramatic narratives which have significance for communities receptive to the iconic image. (Parker, 2012: 241)Shetland Croft

Rattar, J, D. Croft at Fogrigarth, AithstingPhoto: Shetland Museum & Archive.Home

Mainland, T. (1910s) Sinclair family, Skibberhoull, Whalsay & Skerries.Photo: Shetland Museum & Archive.Gloup memorial, Yell

Bridge End marina last week

Sixern Empress LK 280 and two fourernsPhoto: Shetland Museum & ArchiveNorthmavine, Fedaland haaf station. Icons tell great stories

The Skidbladner a replica of the Gokstad ship, Haroldswick Unst.Shetland


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