Scrimshaw Panbone Port Scene

The absence of much pinpricking in this elaborate panbone picture indicates a highly skilled scrimshaw artist who was able to sketch the fantastic port scene freehand. The presence of palm trees indicates a warm climate, dominated by naval warships in a fortified harbor with its own lighthouse. Military camps dominate the land, and a smaller factory or mill town on the bottom of the scene is defended by a partial stockade.
The artist has left no clues for the specific location of this beautifully detailed landscape, although the palm trees suggest somewhere in the vicinity of the equator.
Object Name
scrimshaw bone panel
date made
19th century
Physical Description
whalebone (overall material)
overall: 6 1/4 in x 9 1/4 in x 1/4 in; 15.875 cm x 23.495 cm x .635 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Natural Resources
Cultures & Communities
Industry & Manufacturing
Expansion and Reform
The Development of the Industrial United States
Civil War and Reconstruction
See more items in
Work and Industry: Maritime
On the Water
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of Frederic A. Delano
Publication title
On the Water online exhibition
Publication URL

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