Painstaking etching on ivory or bone -- Practiced for centuries by the Inuit and other native groups along the Northwest Coast, it was adopted by the Yankee whalemen of the early 1800's
The term "scrimshaw" also applies to carved or pierced bone or ivory, since much of the whalemen's work was carved rather than etched.
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An admiral gave his name to a method of carving.
Scrimshaw is the art of carving on 'a piece of whale jawbone or walrus tooth. It was done by sailors with time on their hands as they crossed the oceans in search of whales.
The work was often very delicately done, with scenes of ships, mermaids and monsters. The word 'scrimshaw' is probably derived from the name of Admiral Scrimshaw, who was apparently an expert in the craft.'
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