A whalebone box

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Northern Netherlands, Zaanstreek
First half 17th century
Whalebone, Oak
12 cm
18.5 cm

Collectie Ritman

The bottom and cover of these round boxes were made from oak, of which the cover was decorated with fine carvings.
The sides are made from one piece whalebone stitched together with whalebone thread.
The edges of the whalebone have been attached to the the oak with handmade nails, which consist of iron with brass heads.

This kind of boxes were used for all kinds of small precious objects, such as jewelry, or clothing ornaments.

The whaling industry was an important part of the 17th century economy, especially in the Northern part of the Netherlands which lead to the common use of whalebone in a broad variety of finely crafted objects for daily use.

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