scrimshaw


scrimshaw
/skrim"shaw'/, n.
1. a carved or engraved article, esp. of whale ivory, whalebone, walrus tusks, or the like, made by whalers as a leisure occupation.
2. such articles or work collectively.
3. the art or technique of carving or engraving whale ivory, whalebone, walrus tusks, etc.
v.i.
4. to produce scrimshaw.
v.t.
5. to carve or engrave (whale ivory or whalebone) into scrimshaw.
[1860-65; of obscure orig.]

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Decoration of bone or ivory objects, such as whale's teeth and walrus tusks, with fanciful designs, traditionally carved by Anglo-American and Native American whale fishermen with a jackknife or sail needle and emphasized with black pigments (e.g., lampblack).

Among the traditional subjects are whaling scenes, ships, naval battles, flower bouquets, Masonic emblems, coats of arms, and the Irish harp. The earliest surviving examples date from the late 17th century, but the craft reached its peak in 1830–50. It is still practiced by whalers in Siberia and Alaska.

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      the decoration of bone or ivory objects, such as whale's teeth or walrus tusks, with fanciful designs. The designs, executed by whale fishermen of American and Anglo-American origin, were carved with either a jackknife or a sail needle and then emphasized with black pigments, commonly lampblack. Among the subjects are whaling scenes, whaling ships, naval action, frigates, brigs, sailors' sweethearts, bouquets of flowers, Masonic emblems, coats of arms, and the Irish harp. Examples date from the late 17th century, but the craft reached its peak during the years 1830–50. Scrimshaw is still practiced by whalers such as the Chukchi of Siberia and the Eskimos of Siberia and Alaska.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Scrimshaw — Scrim shaw , v. t. To ornament, as shells, ivory, etc., by engraving, and (usually) rubbing pigments into the incised lines. [Sailor s cant. U.S.] [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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  • scrimshaw — I. verb Etymology: origin unknown Date: circa 1826 transitive verb to carve or engrave into scrimshaw intransitive verb to produce scrimshaw II. noun Date: circa 1864 1. any of various carved or engraved articles made originally by American… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

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