Scrimshaw with tiger engraving
sperm whale tooth, 15.6 x 5cm
KINCM:1999.200.30, Hull Maritime Museum

This double sided, decorated tooth features a standing female figure on one side, wearing a full length gown with wide lace cuffs and a scarf or snood on her head, and a tiger, walking through undergrowth, with the word “TIGER” inscribed beneath. Whilst the tropical animal might seem at odds with the whale tooth on which it was carved, both were viewed as exotic, imperial, big game animals to be hunted and commodified in the period.

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Credit: Images are courtesy of the Hull Maritime Museum