2589 Antique Scrimshaw Tooth with Alwilda and Ship
This wonderful antique scrimshaw tooth is engraved with the female pirate Alwilda on the obverse. The figure is shown wearing a plaid jacket with wide lapels, striped trousers and a sailor's tie. She holds a curved sword in her right hand, wielding it above her head, and has a pistol and dagger tucked into her waist belt. Her left hand is at her hip. The iconic motif of this character was taken from an illustration in The Pirates Own Book, published in 1837, and is a scarce and important subject in scrimshaw.
A starboard quarter view of a three-masted ship flying an American flag at the stern and three pennants at her masts is engraved on the reverse of the tooth. The ship is in polychrome.
The width of the tooth (3 3/8 in. at the base) provided the maker with a beautiful surface for his very fine depiction of his two subjects. American, mid 19th. C. 5 1/4" high.
See E. Norman Flayderman, Scrimshaw and Scrimshanders, Whales and Whalemen, pages 76 and 77 for the 1837 illustration and examples of 3 other scrimshaw teeth depicting Alwilda.