Scrimshaw Walrus tusk depicting European Slave fort

Scrimshaw takes the form of decorated pieces of whale tooth or baleen. Whalers would use a sail needle or other sharp instrument to scratch out pictures and messages. Ink, candle black, soot or tobacco juice would then be rubbed into the marks, to make the images stand out.

This piece of scrimshaw depicts a slave ship and Christiansborg Fort off the coast of West Africa. Christiansborg was a Swedish colonial fort on the West African Coast in present day Ghana.

© Hull Museums