Plastic Scrimshaw Tooth (Fakeshaw), Late 20th Century

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Description
This modern polymer tooth, or “fakeshaw”, was collected for comparative purposes. In recent years, authentic whale ivory and bone scrimshaw has become valuable on the folk art market. In the 1970s, companies began casting plastic replica scrimshaw teeth and other objects, usually with very elaborate scenes, dates and inscriptions. Many of these have made their way into antique shops and flea markets, where they are sold as authentic folk art instead of modern reproductions.
On one side of this tooth, there is a vertical portrait of Napoleon, inscribed with his name on the bottom. On the other side is a horizontal scene of a three-man gun crew hauling a loaded cannon up to a gun port on a lower deck of a warship. This side has “1815” inscribed below the men.
Location
Currently not on view
Physical Description
plastic (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 16.5 cm x 6.3 cm x 3.8 cm; 6 1/2 in x 2 1/2 in x 1 1/2 in
ID Number
1998.0004.01
catalog number
1998.0004.01
accession number
1998.0004
Credit Line
Walter John Silva, Falls Church VA
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Work and Industry: Maritime
Cultures & Communities
Art
Scrimshaw
Transportation
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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