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Scrimshaw case for set of dominoes

Date: 19th century
52 x 164 x 52 mm, 0.1 kg
Medium: Wood
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Desmond Liddy
Object Name: Case
Object No: 00027330

User Terms

    This case was made to contain a set of twenty-eight spinner dominoes made from whalebone. The dominoes were called spinners because each piece has a projecting brass pinhead in the centre which makes it possible to spin them face down. Domino sets made of whale bone were commercially produced and commonly came from France.
    SignificanceThis dominoes case is an example of storage cases produced to contain functional items of scrimshaw.
    HistoryScrimshaw can trace its roots back to America's early whaling industry in 19th century. The craft was practiced by whale hunters who had plenty of spare time on their hands and is today one of a handful of folk art traditions that maintains a presence in contemporary craft practices.

    Scrimshaw is produced by engraving, carving, inlaying or assembling bone from marine mammals, including whale bone, teeth and baleen, walrus tusks and shell. Using jackknives, saws, homemade files and needles sailors would create functional everyday objects or artistic pieces etched with images of women, whaling scenes or memories of home. It is often difficult to determine exactly who and for what purpose some scrimshaw pieces were made and the majority of objects cannot be attributed to a particular artist.
    Additional Titles

    (not entered): 19th century case for dominos

    Web title: Scrimshaw case for set of dominoes

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