Scrimshaw Sperm Whale Tooth, mid-19th Century

This small sperm whale's tooth is highly polished, but only has an unfinished freehand carving on one side. Identifiable by the whaleboats on davits along the right or starboard side, a small three-masted whaleship sails from left to right on a choppy sea. The ship's hull is deeply carved and detailed, but the sails are only outlined, with some sketchy standing rigging just started by the artist.
Currently not on view
date made
mid 19th century
Physical Description
whale tooth (overall material)
scrimshaw (overall production method/technique)
overall: 5 in x 1 5/8 in x 1 1/8 in; 12.7 cm x 4.1275 cm x 2.8575 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Wilbur J. Gould
See more items in
Work and Industry: Maritime
Cultures & Communities
Data Source
National Museum of American History