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[AC] Mead Art Museum at Amherst College; [HC] Hampshire College Art Gallery;
[HD] Historic Deerfield; [MH] Mount Holyoke College Art Museum; [MH SK] The Joseph Allen Skinner Museum at Mount Holyoke College; [SC] Smith College Museum of Art; [UM] University Museum of Contemporary Art at UMASS Amherst


Culture:Native American; Inuit
Title:Whale's Tooth
Date Made:n.d.-1973
Type:Personal Equipment
Materials:sperm whale tooth
Place Made:United States; Alaska; Inuit Nunangat (Northern Canada--Nunavut, northern Ontario, Newfoundland, Labrador, Northwest Territories); Northern Alaska and Little Diomede Island
Measurements:2 3/4 x 1 3/8 x 3/4 in.; 6.985 x 3.4925 x 1.905 cm
Accession Number:  SC 1960.149
Credit Line:Gift of Charlotte Heussy McAllister, class of 1930

This incised sperm whale tooth offers is a somewhat rough example of Inuit scrimshaw. Depicting a polar bear on one side, an anthropomorphic head (possibly that of a bear with pointed ears), and a small design (though illegible, based upon the photos provided) between the two carved images, this tooth is a pendant that features drilled holes and a cord. Most Inuit scrimshaw (as well as that of non-Native sailors who likely adopted the art from local Inuit individuals) is much more fine in its carving and design, thus making this piece somewhat odd. Most scrimshaw is delicately carved, and depicts scenes. AP2018

animals; whales; teeth

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