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Parasol handle made from Whalebone

Date: 19th century
Overall: 19 x 98 x 86 mm, 0.1 kg
Medium: Whale bone
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Scrimshaw
Object No: 00006683

User Terms

    Scrimshaw is keenly sought by collectors. Its variety is endless as seen in this whale bone carved into a parasol handle. Whalers passed long hours at sea creating scrimshaw carvings of functional objects and decorative pieces, which were often brought home as gifts to family and friends.
    SignificanceThis parasol handle represents the variety of scrimshaw objects that were made by whalers.
    HistoryScrimshaw is produced by engraving, carving, inlaying or assembling bone from marine mammals, such as whale bone, teeth and baleen or walrus tusks and shell. Using jackknives, saws, homemade files or sharp sail needles, sailors would etch images of women, whaling scenes or other memories from home.

    The act of making a gift of scrimshaw helped sailors deal with the separation from family or loved ones. For the recipient, the scrimshaw provided something useful in the daily routine of domestic life and was a decorative reminder of the sailor often away for years on end.
    Additional Titles

    Collection title: Tilbrook collection

    Web title: Parasol handle made from Whalebone

    Assigned title: Carved Whalebone parasol handle

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