Scrimshaw with Slavery Imagery
Original Author: Unknown engraver
Created: ca. 1850
Medium: Scrimshaw

Artifact from the Transatlantic Slave Trade

This polished, engraved walrus tusk—a type of carving known as scrimshaw—bears an image of a three-masted British ship in Jamaica. Two groups of six enslaved Africans are chained together along the pier, each group overseen by a man with a whip. A long building at the end of the pier, doubtless an office or warehouse connected with the seagoing trade, sits beneath three palm trees. Scrimshaw carvings such as this one were generally created by sailors during their free time.