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Scrimshaw walking stick

Date: mid 19th century
Overall: 40 x 820 x 40 mm, 0.35 kg
Medium: Morse (walrus) ivory, whalebone
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Walking stick
Object No: 00001691
Place Manufactured:England

User Terms

    Walking sticks were popular accessories for gentlemen in the 19th century. This stick was made from pieces of whale bone, baleen and walrus ivory and features a carved knot handle, engraved diamond pattern and decorative bands of baleen. Sailors produced scrimshaw to pass the time at sea but intricate pieces often took years to finish and were completed after the sailor returned home.
    SignificanceThis walking stick demonstrates the common design feature of carved knot handles and baleen decoration seen in scrimshaw.
    HistoryScrimshaw is a maritime folk art that developed onboard whaling vessels in the early 19th century. It involves engraving, carving, inlaying or assembling bone from marine mammals, including whale bone, teeth, baleen, walrus tusks and shell. Using jackknives, saws, homemade files and needles sailors would etch images of women, whaling scenes and memories of home.

    Whalers commonly made functional objects, such as walking sticks, tools, needles, cutlery, cups or containers. The diversity in their work, especially evident in walking sticks demonstrates the creative use of styles, materials and intricate carvings.
    Additional Titles

    Web title: Scrimshaw walking stick

    Primary title: Scrimshaw walking stick

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