Scrimshaw Tooth

Scrimshaw Tooth

Usage conditions apply
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 tooth, whale
Date made
ca 1840
Physical Description
scrimshaw (overall production method/technique)
sperm whale tooth (overall material)
wood (base material)
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
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Gift of Frederic A. Delano
Expansion and Reform
See more items in
Work and Industry: Maritime
Cultures & Communities
Industry & Manufacturing
Clothing & Accessories
Natural Resources
On the Water exhibit
Family & Social Life
On the Water
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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