Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Sending out an SOS to the world

Okay, it's not really an SOS, but I've got that song by The Police in my head.

I do need your help. I've got a real whatzit situation on my hands. As in, what is this object? My documentation says "adze handle" (an identification made after it came into museum possession), but I remain skeptical. It appears to be made of bone with what appears to be baleen threaded through two of three holes at one end. One bundle of baleen is curved and twisted, the other is straight.

My guess is that it has to do with basket making or baleen processing, given the presence of baleen, but that's just a guess. Several google searches were no help in finding images of baleen processing tools, so I can't back up my guess. I suppose it could be an adze handle, but it's unusual for one, I think.

What do you think it might be? Why? Help me, blogosphere, you're my only hope.


Chris said...

You've got a bone handle there; I'm pretty sure of it. The baleen was undoubtedly used to secure the head of whatever tool the finished product was to the handle. Not knowing where the handle originated, I can't make a firm guess of what exactly the tool was. Adzes are used for carving wood, so if the tool came from Arctic regions, it is probably not an adze. My guess would be some kind of hammer, but again, I don't have any of the handle's background information. Hope this helps.

Richard Urban said...

Actually my immediate thought with the baleen and an adze was some sort of boat building tool. A quick googling suggests that certain Inuit groups used whalebone and baleen to make adzes for building boats and sledges.