A scrimshaw sperm whale tooth featuring a scene from shore with a sailing ship at anchor. A sailor and sweetheart are shown holding hands on the other side of the tooth.
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This delicately carved sperm whale tooth was one of a pair given to Stephen Gillingham, a passenger on the Timandra, by one of the crew. The Timandra was one of the “first six ships” of Pākehā settlers to New Plymouth that arrived on 23 February 1842. Scrimshaw work like this was a common art among 19th-century sailors. Whale and walrus ivory, bone, wood and shells were all decorated to while away the months on long voyages.
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