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Fid for lace making with clenched fist, carved from whale tooth

Date: 19th century
Overall: 11 x 150 x 15 mm
Medium: Whale tooth
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Scrimshaw
Object No: 00006649

User Terms

    This whale bone fid was carved by a sailor and features an arm with clenched fist, wrist cuff and five decorative bands. Small scrimshaw pieces were often made out of whaling by-products and given as gifts to family and loved ones. Fids could be used as tools onboard sailing ships or in this instance as an implement to make lace.

    SignificanceThis fid represents the production of functional items of scrimshaw as gifts. The carving of a clenched fist hand was a popular design feature used by scrimshanders.
    HistoryScrimshaw is produced by engraving, carving, inlaying or assembling bone from marine mammals, such as whale bone, teeth and baleen, walrus tusks and shell. Using jackknives, saws, homemade files and sharp sail needles, sailors etched images of women, whaling scenes or other memories of home.
    Additional Titles

    Web title: Scrimshaw fid featuring clenched fist

    Primary title: Fid for lace making with clenched fist, carved from whale tooth

    Collection title: Tilbrook collection

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