History of Scrimshaw


History of Scrimshaw


While hunting may not be as necessary for our survival as in centuries past, the excesses of a few hunters brought about the Marine Mammal Act as an effort to protect animals with ivory. Now many scrimshanders have found ivory harder to obtain, though it is not illegal to own.

There are restrictions on owning certain types of ivory. It depends upon the area collected, the age of the ivory, and the genetic heritage of the collector. Therefore, most scrimshaw is now done on fossil ivories (Mammoth and Walrus). These legal limitations have led to a prejudice against owning scrimshaw among a portion of the population. The result being a reduction in the sale and availability of ivory.

To loose the art form completely would be grievous to many. Unless there is a change in societies acceptance of using the resource of fossil ivories, Scrimshaw may become a lost art. Only time will tell as to the future of Scrimshaw. Let`s hope it endures as long as man still walks the earth!


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