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Scrimshaw: Sperm whale tooth: inscribed "Return to Me"

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New Zealand Maritime Museum Hui Te Ananui a Tangaroa

Whale tooth decorated with the words "Return to me" in ink. 8 holes drilled into tooth at various points. John Elijah Hoffman worked as a whaler on a ship called WILLEM BARENTSZ (1955) in the Antarctic Ocean for four seasons from 1957-1961 (the shipping seasons lasted between 4-6 months). He collected the whale teeth as a hobby and to pass the time. The words "Return to Me" were dedicated to th...

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  • Title

    Scrimshaw: Sperm whale tooth: inscribed "Return to Me"

  • Maker

    Hoffman, John Elijah (d.Pre 2014)

  • Date made

    1957-1961: circa. dates of whaling seasons

  • Subject

    Whaling & Sealing, Maritime Trades & Professions, WILLEM BARENTSZ (1955), Maatschappij Walvisvaart, Shipping Lines, Commercial Shipping, Objects, Scrimshaw

  • Additional information

    Bone, Ink, Length (mm): 162mm (9/16ft): 0 - Whole, Circumference: 179mm (0.2m)

  • Rights

    The NZ Maritime Museum aims to provide free use of our Collections Online content. The majority of the online images are available for download and reuse, free of charge. We ask that our material is appropriately attributed, and that users adhere to restrictions when these are indicated. For guidance and information regarding attribution, rights and restrictions please read our Image Use Policy or contact the Collections Team.

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  • Text adapted with permission from Te Papa and Digital NZ

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