×
Weekly Auctions of Exceptional Items
0 selections
Log In
0 selections
lots of lots
Lot 0138B
North Atlantic or Arctic, ca. mid-19th century CE. A fascinating piece of folk art that immediately calls to mind Herman Melville, carved from three separate pieces of whale bone. At the top is a sperm whale with its tail twisted around, caught in a dynamic pose as if swimming. It is connected to a low base, that retains some of the original shape of the bone it is made from, by a thin, highly polished cylinder that may be a part of a tooth. Size: 3.95" L x 7.6" W x 4.95" H (10 cm x 19.3 cm x 12.6 cm)

The texture of the whale bone - which often feels more like dense wood than other types of bone - is clearly seen on one side of the base and the tail of the whale, while much of the rest of the carving is smooth.

Although now it has largely (and happily) fallen out of favor, during the 19th century, whaling was a major part of the world economy. Although whales have been hunted for many centuries all over the world, the depiction here of a sperm whale allows us to date this to the middle of the 19th century. From 1840 to 1861, American crews developed the sperm whale fishing industry to harvest spermaceti, the waxy substance in the nose of the whale that was used to make candles, oil for lamps, and other lubricants. This industry was immortalized in "Moby Dick," published first as "The Whale" in 1851. During those years, the United States had over 700 whaling vessels; whalers would go out on four-year-long voyages and while at sea used their spare time to make wonderful carvings like this one from whale bone and teeth.



The piece is accompanied by a notarized document certifying its legality.


<BR Provenance: Ex-Henry & Gretchen Burnett Collection, Santa Barbara, CA, acquired before 1970

All items legal to buy/sell under U.S. Statute covering cultural patrimony Code 2600, CHAPTER 14, and are guaranteed to be as described or your money back.

A Certificate of Authenticity will accompany all winning bids.

We ship worldwide to most countries and handle all shipping in-house for your convenience.

#120032

Condition

Surface shows dark areas of patina from handling throughout the years.

Starting Bid

$800.00

Buyer's Premium

  • 24.5%

19th C. North Atlantic Bone Carving of Whale

|
Estimate $1,500 - $2,000
|Sell a Similar Item
Bidder
Bid
Internet Bid
$725.00
Starting Bid
$800.00
686 S. Taylor Avenue Suite 106
Louisville, CO 80027
United States
Ask a Question|