narwal tooth

Have you ever seen a large tooth like this?

These teeth were long seen as proof of the existence of unicorns … but it is a narwal‘s tooth. The narwal is related to the whale. It lives in the northern arctic waters and its single tooth can reach an incredible length of over eight feet!

Narwaltand

Narwal tooth. Click on the image for a larger version

Around the year 1700, the Frisians, in particular those living on the islands, were expert whale hunters. Occasionally they caught a live narwal, sometimes only the tooth was washed ashore.

At the time, a narwal tooth was a rare and much sought-after item, and therefore very precious. Often the ivory was worked, but also without decoration it is a fascinating object.