What is Mammoth Ivory Scrimshaw?

by ani.choudhary on April 16, 2014

The art of engraving images and etching on bone or ivory is termed as Scrimshaws. Started out to keep the Dutch crew on whaling ships occupied when they were idle, the beautiful art turned out to be collectibles centuries later. The materials they used originally were whatever was normally available which included whales bones and teeth.  Though it started in the 17th century, the modern scrimshaws can be traced back to the 19th century American whalers. With sperm whale teeth and whale bones used primarily as scrimshaw material, over a period, walrus and mammoth ivory became popular, especially in the regions of Alaska and Siberia.

Some of the scrimshaws were kept as mementos of the hunt, trophies of successful whaling sessions and others were gifts to friends and family. After J. F. Kennedy’s collection of scrimshaws went public, it gained nationwide coverage. Not just traditional artists but even modern sculptors and artists took to scrimshaws. The same materials were used to etch the detailed images on bones and ivory.

But laws were enacted and Endangered Species Act of 1973 made whale bones and ivory restricted commodity and later elephant ivory was declared illegal. Only fossil ivory which is ancient walrus and mammoth tusks are considered legal worldwide. Mammoth ivory and walrus being readily available in the cold regions of Alaska, sailors had been using for ages. Even today, mammoth tusks and walrus ivory is one of the most preferred materials in private collections as some of the finest scrimshaws are being produced. But with each passing year, the limited fossil ivory- mammoth ivory and walrus ivory will be depleted and making each unique sculpture crafted from it a precious heirloom.

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Art in Mammoth Tusk Ivory Sculptures

by ani.choudhary on March 25, 2014

Though the concept of carving mammoth ivory has been since time immemorial, it didn’t gain fame and prestige till elephant ivory was banned in 1989. But over the last decade the flagging ivory trade and industry saw a considerable revival when people started investing in mammoth tusk ivory being rarer than fossil fuels, due to the limited aspects of finding wooly mammoth tusks. It is estimated that within the next 15 years, Siberia would exhaust its cache of mammoth tusks that have been buried for eons.

Looking back at the history of finding carved mammoth ivory, it has been seen that sculptures carved from it demand high prices as they are antiques. The demand to fill in the ivory art has fallen on the mantel of mammoth ivory traders and artists, leading to increase in hunting, harvesting and procurement in the extreme cold of the Tundra regions. This has added to increasing of overall costs over the years.

One of the leading Chinese artists, Chu Chung-shing revived the art of sculpture in mammoth ivory after elephant ivory was banned. According to him, there has been an increase in the cost of tusks and only about 6 to 10% can be carved completely. Though the art of ivory carving is a traditional Chinese handicraft, it is said to date back to 3,500 years ago when the Shang dynasty ruled. From carving huge tusks to creating 5 cm sized sculptures, he has done it all and has a team of novice artists looking to learn the art. For those looking to invest in mammoth tusk ivory and legal ivory mammoth, you may browse the collection of tusk ivory art at http://mammothivory.info

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Know About Unusual Materials Used to Craft Netsuke

February 28, 2014

Though traditionally elephant ivory was used for netsuke, there are a variety of other materials that are popular raw material for carving the miniature sculptures. Some of these include: Black Coral: Known as Umimatsu or sea pine, black coral is dense and has growth rings with beautiful red and amber inclusions. The hard calcerous coral [...]

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What is the difference between Anabori Netsuke and Obi-hasami Sashi Netsuke?

February 6, 2014

If you are really interested in netsuke collection and planning to have your own collectibles, maybe it is time to really understand the subtle difference between the different types and styles of netsuke available. By the end of the 19th century, the practical use of netsuke and sagemono disappeared as more women and men started [...]

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Categories of Carved Netsuke

January 17, 2014

A continued tradition, netsuke exemplifies the Japanese miniature art and sculpture, making the tiny beads of yore a collectible with time. A detailed carved bead used as a toggle on the sagemono was kept secure by the ojime as it was strung between the netsuke and the inro. This hung by the obi or sash [...]

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