Panbone Busk

zoomable artifact image here


Corset busk made of panbone (upper jaw of sperm whale), lower end rounded, upper end scalloped.  Piece is decorated with six incised motifs, from top to bottom: two lovebirds perched on a heart, cupid, full-length view of woman reading a book, butterfly on flower in flowerpot, [flower petals tinted red], cornucopia, five-pointed star; reverse undecorated; busk possibly part of collection of New London CT Jibboom Club [1870-1959].

A busk like this is a very intimate piece of scrimshaw, often given to loved ones, and inserted into a corset as a stiffener.