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Scrimshaw walking stick carved with a barleytwist shaft

Date: mid 19th Century
Overall: 865 x 90 x 20 mm, 0.3 kg
Display Dimensions: 20 x 865 mm
Medium: Whalebone, baleen
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Walking stick
Object No: 00032494

User Terms

    Walking sticks were fashionable accessories for men in the 19th century. This stick features a barleytwist shaft made from whalebone and a handle carved from whale tooth in the shape of a horses horfetlock (leg)and hoof. The creativity of scrimshanders is evident in the variety of styles, combination of materials and intricate carvings on walking sticks.
    SignificanceThis piece represents the scrimshaw production of walking sticks and the common design elements of horse-leg handles and barleytwist shafts.
    HistoryScrimshaw is a maritime folk art tradition that developed on American whaling ships in the 19th century. It helped sailors deal with the isolation and loneliness of being at sea onboard whaling expeditions that could take up to five years. Scrimshaw is produced by engraving and carving material from marine animals, such as whale bone, teeth and baleen, walrus tusks and shell. Using jackknives, saws or homemade files sailors would etch images of women, whaling scenes or memories of home. Whalers often made functional objects like canes, needles, cutlery, cups or containers.
    Additional Titles

    Web title: Scrimshaw walking stick carved with a barleytwist shaft

    Assigned title: Scrimshaw walking stick carved with a barleytwist shaft

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