Scrimshaw

Scrimshaw is the decoration of bone or ivory objects, such as whale teeth and walrus tusks, with fanciful designs. Traditionally carved by Anglo-American and Native American whalers with a jackknife or sail needle and emphasized with black pigments, scrimshaw works, which often depict maritime scenes, date to at least the late 17th century. The craft reached its peak around the mid-1800s and is still practiced by whalers in Siberia and Alaska. What did early scrimshaw artists use for pigment?


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