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Ivory and related materials: remarks on the technology

Elephant ivory is the most versatile material among bones. The tusk is big and massive and suitable in shape for bigger objects, whereas the ivory of the hippopotamus is in general smaller and is therefore not always suitable. Ivory is a relatively soft material.

choosing a material
elephant ivory
other animal bone
hippopotamus ivory
hard outer layer must be removed
only fresh, uncooked bones can be used
it is in general harder than elephant ivory and has a markedly curved shape; there is also a hard enamel, which must be removed
cutting of smaller blocks most often longitudinally from the tusk
ivory could be painted
scouring on underside for inlays

Krzyszkowska/Morkot 2000 (general introduction)


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