Whaler's lip knife; MSC170


Whaler's lip knife

About this object

(With safety sheath of wood) Probably made from Maori war weapon. The lip knife was used after the harpooned whale was killed and the whalers prepared to tow it to shore for "trying" i.e. cutting it up and cooking it to extract the oil. The lip knife was used to cut a hole through the bottom of the whale's mouth near the centre point of the jaw. The towline was passed through the slit and the tow began. It was no good slipping a towline around the tail as, if towed tail first, the whale's huge flukes impeded progress. Head first, the flukes were forced against the body. Property of the late William Cotton.

Credit Line

Lent by Joe Cotton

Object number



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