Scrimshaw Tooth

Description
Women and ships were the most popular subjects for scrimshaw carved by crewmen on long, slow whaling voyages. In this deeply engraved example, a beautifully coiffed and fashionable young lady, possibly in mourning dress, has pulled a locket from her bodice and is gazing at the image of a smiling young man. The curls of her girlish hairstyle would indicate that she is unmarried, although the traditional ring finger of her left hand is not shown. The mid-19th-century date of this tooth is suggested by the style of the dress.
Object Name
scrimshaw
scrimshaw tooth, whale
Date made
ca 1840
maker
unknown
Physical Description
scrimshaw (overall production method/technique)
sperm whale tooth (overall material)
wood (base material)
Measurements
overall: 6 3/4 in x 3 1/2 in x 2 5/16 in; 17.145 cm x 8.89 cm x 5.87375 cm
ID Number
TR*374506
catalog number
374506
accession number
136263
related event
Expansion and Reform
See more items in
Work and Industry: Maritime
Cultures & Communities
Industry & Manufacturing
Work
Clothing & Accessories
Art
Natural Resources
On the Water exhibit
Family & Social Life
Transportation
Exhibition
On the Water
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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