Scrimshaw whalebone stay busk
A sailor's love token. The red stain scrimshaw decoration depicts a whaling scene with sailing ship and harpoonists in their long boat being overturned by an enraged whale. This may well be recording a major tragedy in December 1847, in which a third mate and four men from the Acushnet were killed and later became the inspiration for Herman Melville's novel Moby Dick. See Scrimshaw and Scrimshanders by N.Flaydesman P.24.
Mid 19th century.
Scrimshaw is the art of carving or otherwise fashioning useful or decorative articles as practised primarily by whale-men, sailors, or others associated with nautical pursuits. The basic materials of the artefacts are from the whale. Other materials may be taken from various forms of sea life, shells, or diverse materials gathered in areas visited by ships, as well as woods, metals etc. normally carried or used aboard ships. The artefacts must have a nautical association in respect of one or more of the following: maker, motif, method or materials.
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