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

Hoffman, John Elijah (d.Pre 2014)
Production date
1957-1961: circa. dates of whaling seasons
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Object detail

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 the artist's wife as a reference both to his promise to return to her and to a record [musical] of the same name he had given her.
Accession number
Museum System ID
Collection type
Maker and role
Hoffman, John Elijah (d.Pre 2014): Maker
Measurement details
Length (mm): 162mm (9/16ft): 0 - Whole
Circumference: 179mm (0.2m)
Production place and notes
South Africa, Africa
On display?
Not on display


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