Are Mammoth Ivory Sculptures Made by Machines?

by ani.choudhary on February 16, 2014

If you thought mammoth ivory sculptures were made by machines in a large production unit, you are totally wrong. Mammoth ivory is delicate yet solid pure ivory, more precious than gold due to the limited stock available today. Only the top of the line expert Oriental or South East Asian artists have the skill and experience to carve such intricate details on ivory. They are artists through the generations and the new ones join as an apprentice at an early age, working on wood and then graduating on to delicate and priceless materials such as ivory. And of all the ivories, mammoth ivory is the most expensive. The other ivory that is used for carving includes hippo ivory, narwhale/swordfish, walrus, sperm whale teeth, hornbill and even vegetable ivory.

The location and excavation of mammoth ivory is a tedious task completed by expert locals in Arctic regions including Siberia while harvesting and trading in it needs resources. As the mammoths lay buried under the Arctic tundra permafrost for thousands of years, any exposure of the ivory to arid temperature leads to cracking and crumbling of ivory. Do you think that it can take the vigorous heat and automatic machine cutting stress without breaking?

That is the reasons that mammoth ivory is stored under humid temperature, cut delicately with hand saws with constant monitoring of the heat as not to damage it.  Then it is provided to various skilled and experienced artists who work on each tusk for a few weeks, using hand tools to create a unique detailed and exquisitely carved masterpiece. This is one of the reasons that mammoth ivory sculptures are so unique and high priced as compared to bone sculptures.  Take a minute to see some of the most exquisite carvings in mammoth ivory at

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