Hi, I have contacted the Natural History Dept of Cardiff Museum regarding this scrimshawed tusk that I have hoping to identify what animal it came from, it's age, where in the world it originated and what culture does it represent? They suggest it could be:-
from the style of the skulls, that this dates to the post-medieval and colonial period - probably 16th-19th centuries AD) The object could be carved walrus or elephant ivory and the depiction of animals on the piece suggests encounter, or memory of encounter, with the fauna and flora in newly explored parts of the world. The lizard / reptilian content and luxuriant foliage hints at certain climates and made by a mariner or journeyer, then later purchased and inscribed as a gift in 1930
I've tried a 'hot pin test' and it smells of dentist drill and not plastic so I think it is genuine. On the reverse there is a faint inscription saying:
To Iris with love from Harry 1/3/30
If it came up in a pub quiz my money would be on hippo tusk/tooth as it's the right size and shape.
For advice on the carving you could try the V&A Museum.
My money is also on Hippo tooth, lower outer incisor. There are lots of examples of carved hippo tooth if you do a google image search BUT they are all very intricately carved or are scrimshaw; a picture is scratched onto the surface of the ivory and then emphasised by rubbing 'dirt' into the scratches.
Thanks for the input, guys. Anyone else have any ideas?