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Circa 1850

POLYCHROME SCRIMSHAW WHALE'S TOOTH ATTRIBUTED TO GEORGE HILIOTT

Like on many of Hiliot's teeth, the obverse depicts a Pacific Islander scene showing two natives in grass skirts standing beneath palm trees, pointing their outstretched arms toward a whaleship and two whaleboats in active pursuit of a pod of whales. Distant mountains and a cloudy sky frame the scene. Reverse with an oval medallion containing a three-quarter length portrait of a formally dressed woman with tightly curled hair, wearing a cross necklace and a rose tucked into the belt of her dress, and holding a folded letter in her hand. Portrait framed by red drapes and medallion surrounded by green leaves and a red rose. Vacant cartouche at base. Bright colors and warm patina.
Length 7".
Condition: **This item is not available for international delivery. Please be aware of your local regulations regarding the sale of marine mammal parts and bid accordingly. **

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  • Provenance:
    Hyland Granby Antiques, Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, 2014.
    The Collection of Michael Gill.

    Notes:
    Two similar teeth by whaleman George Hiliott are illustrated in Ingenious Contrivances, Curiously Carved by Stuart M. Frank (Boston: David R. Godine, 2012), fig. 3:13a and b. Frank writes that Hiliott engraved at least five teeth showing a native islander on one side and an elegantly clad woman on the other.

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