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Scrimshaw

These scrimshaws are carved on sperm whale teeth and depict a whale and a ship in sail. Scrimshaws, which can be carved bone or ivory, were commonly made from whales’ teeth or walrus tusks. They were made mostly by fishermen who, after carving their designs, made the images stand out by rubbing on black pigments. The making of scrimshaw was most common from 1830 to 1850. In parts of the world scrimshaws are still made today by such peoples as the Chukchi, Siberia and Alaskan Eskimos.