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15.25 in x 1.75 in
A dress accessory dating back several centuries, the busk was inserted into a narrow pocket in the front of the corset, and tied in place with ribbons.It would generally run from the breasts to the top of the pubic bone and was to keep the posture straight and upright, as well as helping to keep the breasts elevated and the belly flat. Made of wood, metal, ivory, or bone, their function and where they lay on a woman's body has always seen them as being a special gift between lovers; hearts, endless knots and initials being favourite motifs. Some of the best busks were created early in the 19th century by sailors, especially those from the New England whaling fleets. These scrimshaw busks, made from the whalebone, featured images drawn from the creator's imagination or from contemporary magazine illustrations.Scrimshandering was a popular pastime with these sailors and helped to pass the long idle hours at sea, often over several years; a staybusk doubtless bringing pleasing thoughts of a sweetheart to mind.