Scrimshaw Paperknife, the carved whale ivory handle with heart and anchor motifs

Scrimshaw Paperknife, the carved whale ivory handle with heart and anchor motifs

1800 to 1900 American

Offered by Finch & Co

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A Scrimshaw Paperknife, the carved whale ivory handle with heart and anchor motifs
inlaid with baleen. A baleen knop below the handle inlaid with an ivory ‘whale’s eye’.
The blade shaped from one piece of brown baleen. Probably American
Circa 1870 – 1880

Size: 34.5cm long – 13½ ins long
See: Finch and Co catalogue no. 10, item no. 93, for an American scrimshaw whale ivory jagging wheel
Whaling involved long periods at sea with only intermittent action. ‘Scrimshanding’ was one of a variety of pastimes employed by seamen to avoid the boredom of the voyage and the periods of great inactivity on board ship. These large intervals of time during which the seamen were left to their own devices did not affect their wages as a form of payment had been established that was peculiar to the whaling industry. Instead of a regular salary the whaler’s pay was based on a preset share in the profits. This was termed a ‘lay’ and varied from the captain’s large portion down to a minute share for an inexperienced seaman.
Medium
Whale tooth and baleen
Finch & Co

Finch & Co
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2 Old Brompton Road
London
SW7 3DQ
England

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