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Carved Sperm Whale Tooth (Scrimshaw)

Carved Sperm Whale Tooth (Scrimshaw)

This engraved Sperm Whale Tooth with a farewell maritime scene comes from the collection of the Scottish Fisheries Museum in Anstruther (Fife).

The art of engraving designs on to the teeth, bones or baleen of sperm whales and other marine mammals is called a scrimshaw. It was a common pastime of sailers on long whaling voyages.

Sperm whales have 23 pairs of teeth which were particularly prized for scrimshaw. After extraction, the teeth were scraped smooth and polished. The design could be engraved freehand or copied using a template.

The 3D model was created by the Scottish Maritime Museum as a part of the Scanning The Horizon project, working with collections from Industrial Museums Scotland (Go Industrial).

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