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Enquiry from Online Galleries regarding "Sailors Scrimshaw Whalebone Walking Cane"
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Carved with a China man's head, his eyes downcast, his hair tied in a long pigtail down his back
Circa 1830 – 40
Size: 91.5cm long – 36 ins long
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The sailors and merchants of the European ships were regarded with suspicion as 'Fan Kwae' or 'Foreign Devils' by the Chinese, and western women were strictly forbidden in Canton. Some foreign traders became very wealthy, but for every man who made a fortune another hundred or more toiled away on board vessels for years at a time suffering from disease, deprivation and boredom for a sailors pay, which was often spent before they arrived home, and no share in the voyage.