Scrimshaw - Whale jaw; CT77.124


Scrimshaw - Whale jaw

About this object

Scrimshaw - whale jaw; the lower jaw bone of a whale. The jaw still contains 20 teeth. On the exterior ends of the bone, are two scrimshaw images - one depicts the head and shoulders of a young woman, and the other depicts trees and other floral motifs.

Scrimshaw is the name given to handiwork created by whalers made from the byproducts of harvesting marine mammals. It is most commonly made out of the bones and teeth of sperm whales, the baleen of other whales, and the tusks of walruses. It takes the form of elaborate engravings in the form of pictures and lettering on the surface of the bone or tooth, with the engraving highlighted using a pigment.

On display in the Catlins Gallery, Owaka Museum.


h 130mm x l 490mm x w 315mm

Subject and Association Keywords

fisheries, whaling

Credit Line

From the collection of Owaka Museum Wahi Kahuika The Meeting Place "a rest on your journey"

Object Type


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All rights reserved

Koen Van Waerebeek 19 Jan 2012 08:00 AM,UTC

Dear Curator,
I came across this just by chance. In case you are interested, the
species is long-finned pilot whale, Globicephala melas edwardii.
Dr Koen Van Waerebeek