The History and Uses of Ivory

Many people appreciate ivory across the globe for its incredibly beautiful properties. It has a beautiful grain, smooth texture, creamy light color, and a soft luster. As such, products crafted from ivory are highly sought after.

An ivory statue is a carving that is designed from ivory – which comes from animal’s tusk or tooth. Experienced artisans use sharp cutting tools, either manually or mechanically, to create the exceptional pieces that many love.

Since the prehistoric times, humans have been carving ivory. The material allows the artisans to integrate even the most exquisite detail, that’s would otherwise be difficult to achieve with other materials. Besides, unlike precious metals, ivory does not have bullion value, so it is not easily recyclable. This aspect helps the pieces crafted out of ivory to survive for more extended periods in comparison to other materials.

Ivory is not only obtained from elephants, as many would want to believe, it also is found in tooth and tusk of any other animal. Teeth feature three elements: the inner root, main body, and the outer dental enamel. The first two elements of the teeth are often used for carving purposes, the reason being the outer enamel can be too hard to cut, and will need grinding first. This is particularly true for the tooth of a hippopotamus, which can be as hard as jade. Elephant ivory is widely used because, in addition to it being soft and easy to carve, it also comes in the largest pieces. However, due to the elephant protection laws, mammoth ivory carving is now prominent. This ivory too is of high quality and is used to design high-end ivory statues.

Uses of ivory

Ivory has been used by different cultures as a symbol of purity, and innocence. Products carved from ivory can be found in Japan, China, India, Greece, and ancient Egypt. The use of ivory in art goes back to the Carolingian, Roman, Gothic, Archaic, Byzantine, Baroque, and Renaissance periods. And up until today, people still embrace ivory carvings in their homes, offices, and even as jewelry.

The Athena of Phidias is a large gold and ivory statue in Greek. It highlights the use of Ivory in the country. The Romans too, used ivory in furniture, to implement war and as a decorative item. Ivory boxes, diptychs, liturgical objects, plaques, small statues, and book covers were made in large numbers in the early times.

Why ivory is so popular

Countries like Hong Kong and China perceive ivory as a precious material and use it to make jewelry and ornaments. It is also used to make the chopsticks for eating. Sometimes, the Chinese people use ivory as medication.

There is a group of Chinese people who believe that owning ivory makes them appear more successful, while others think it will bring good luck. Other than the beliefs, the products crafted from ivory are incredibly beautiful and pure and can be nice to have in a home. The ability of the ivory to be carved into anything makes them even more exceptional. Enthusiasts who are looking for a sculpture of a tiger and cub, stork on a tree, a tiger in the wild, a dog, a person, or group of dogs can find the best ones with ivory carvings.