Sperm Whale Tooth Napkin Ring, 20th Century

<< >>
The lower diameter of an average-sized sperm whale tooth makes it a perfect candidate for a napkin ring. This example was sliced off the bottom of a tooth, hollowed out and then polished inside and out.
The upper side is carved with a Pacific Northwest Indian totem pole decorated with a vertical stack of four creatures. It stands at one corner of a low log walled precinct, to the right of which is a tree. The subject, uniform depth of the carving and overall style indicate a 20th century date.
Totem poles were carved tree trunks (usually Western cedar) smoothed and carved by several different native North American tribes in the Pacific Northwest (Canada and Washington coast).
Currently not on view
date made
20th century
Physical Description
tooth, whale (overall material)
scrimshaw (overall production method/technique)
overall: 2 in x 1 5/8 in; 5.08 cm x 4.1275 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Dr. Lucinda de L. Templin
See more items in
Work and Industry: Maritime
Cultures & Communities
Data Source
National Museum of American History