Object detail

Whale tooth with etched design both sides of sailing ships at sea and the tail of a diving whale.
CH classification HANDCRAFTS Sailor's Crafts scrimshaw
L150 x Dia.50 mm
Media/Materials description
Whale tooth
<Picture of 2 sailing ships on one side, and 1 sailing ship & tail of whale on other.>
History and use
The carving of walrus tusk and whale bone (or ivory) is known as scrimshaw and those who do such carving are scrimshanders. Scrimshaw is derived from the practice of sailors on whaling ships creating common tools, where the byproducts of whales were readily available. The term originally referred to the making of these tools, only later referring to works of art created by whalers in their spare time. Whale bone was ideally suited for the task, as it is easy to work and was plentiful.

Uploaded to the Web 27 May 2011.
Registration number


My shortlist

Explore other objects by colour