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A 'SCRIMSHAW' GIANT AMAZON RIVER OR ARRAU TURTLE SHELL (PDOCNEMIS EXPANSA)

19th century


Of blonde colour, with a nice smooth surface and attractive patina, mounted for wall-hanging.

L. circa 80 cm

Note:

This is the shell of an Arrau Turtle or Giant Amazon River Turtle. These creatures are not white as you would expect from the colour of this specimen. Western sailors would stock up living turtles in their ships upon return and tried to keep them alive for as long as possible. Quite smart, because the turtle would be fresh, and could feed over a hundred men.
In their spare time, the sailors would start polishing a shell, layer after layer, until it was white, and would sell it in the harbor upon arrival.

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65 cm (sold)
65 cm (sold)
75 cm (sold
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80 cm (sold)
78 cm (sold)