Snuff Spoon
scrimshaw
KINCM:2005.2312, Hull Maritime Museum

This small snuff bone carved from whale jawbone was designed to resemble a horse wearing a halter and harness. Tobacco and snuff were popular commodities on-board whaling voyages, and were often objects of trade both amongst whalers and between the whalers and Inuit population. Snuff boxes were made of whalebone and baleen were also popular, and perhaps this spoon may originally have been part of a set. Horses may have been in whalers’ minds because of the so-called Nantucket Sleigh Ride, the moment when, successfully harpooned, the whale pulled the whaleboats along through the ocean, until it became too tired and could be lanced.

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Credit: Images are courtesy of the Hull Maritime Museum