The long, tiring days spent at sea meant sailor of old had to find some way to occupy their time when they weren’t busy scrubbing the decks and fixing the riggings. Bringing back trinkets and bric-a-brac for their darlings to swoon over and treasure came high on some sailors minds but what could they get? What did the vast body of water they sailed upon night and day offer them?
Scrimshaw in an old art form many sailors favoured on their long voyages across the waves. Taking up their time and focused their minds, Scrimshaw is the art of etching images into the bones and teeth of whales. The nautical art form gave sailors something to do other than desperately keeping an eye out for approaching land, rocks and monstrous waves and offered up stunning gifts for their sweethearts on returning home.
Ivory wasn’t as highly treasured in the days of Moby Dick and sea aged pirates as it is today. The time focused, and patient art form depicted stories of sailors on their journeys, enlivened images of mythical sea creatures crashing up through waves, and acted as the perfect background for documenting popular sea shanties.
Today Scrimshaw is considered very valuable, and not least because they’re set on whale bones and teeth. The detailed etchings grant us a snapshot into the lives of sailors historians and collectors simply adore.
Impression of the Sea
Powerful and gentle, vast yet confined in places, the ocean has offered up a means of inspiration for artists of all forms throughout the centuries. Paintings depicting storms, their oil paints coalescing to form a single living entity rising up over the decks of swaying ships. Songs of lovers lost at sea and of those safely returned. Even famous poems and stories such as the magnificent Moby Dick and the horror of the Rhyme of the Ancient Sea Mariner have all been influenced by the rise and swell of the ocean.
Scrimshaw may be a dying art form now, but other treasures the ocean offers us such as the stunning array of shells will forever allow us to create mesmerising pieces of jewellery for years to come.
We know how elegant and majestic art can be, we also know how important it is to keep your ship in tiptop form. For more information on how our products can help keep your ship running smoothly, contact our comprehensive ship chandler today on 01524 862010.