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Cigar holder in the form of a sea monster

Date: 19th century
Dimensions:
Overall: 22 x 18 x 74 mm, 0.016 kg
Display Dimensions: 72 x 22 x 16 mm
Medium: Whaletooth
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Desmond Liddy
Object Name: Cigar holder
Object No: 00027351

User Terms

    Description
    This cigar holder made from whaletooth was handcarved in the form of a sea monster. Whalers used small pieces of whale bone to create functional items such as needles, tools, cutlery or cigar holders.
    SignificanceThis rare piece of scrimshaw represents the variety of objects that were made by whalers in the 19th century. Although scrimshaw was usually made by sailors for recreational purposes, this unique piece was commercially manufactured.
    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

    Primary title: CIGAR HOLDER IN THE FORM OF A SEA MONSTER, 19th CENTURY.

    Web title: Cigar holder in the form of a sea monster

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