Ivory

DEFINITION

A material from the tusks of elephants and other large mammals including walrus, hippopotamus and narwhal or medium-sized toothed whales. Ivory is hard, calcareous and creamy white in color. Since ancient times, it has been used for carving because it has desirable appearance, is easily carved with sharp steel tools, and is durable and long lasting. The negatives are tendency to warp and scarcity, especially in recent times when laws protecting its animal sources have been enacted. Modern substitutes are plastics made to resemble Ivory. Eskimos are most noted among American artists for their carving of ivory such as Johnny Aculiak and Happy Jack Angokwazhuk. Others did painting of miniature portraits on ivory such as George Baker, John Carlin, and Eulabee Dix. Sources: Ralph Mayer, "A Dictionary of Art Terms and Techniques"; AskART Biographies

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