Tortoiseshell or tortoise shell is a material produced from the shells of the larger species of tortoise and turtle, mainly the hawksbill sea turtle, which is a Critically Endangered species according to the IUCN Red List largely because of its exploitation for this trade. The large size, fine colour and unusual form of the hawksbill's scutes make it especially suitable. The distinctive patterning is referred to in names such as the tortoiseshell cat, several breeds of guinea pig, and the common names of several species of the butterfly genera Nymphalis and Aglais , and some other uses.
Tortoiseshell was widely used from ancient times in the North and in Asia, until the trade was banned in 2014. It was used, normally in thin slices or pieces, in the manufacture of a wide variety of items such as combs, small boxes and frames and inlays in furniture (known as Boulle Work carried out by André-Charles Boulle) and other items, frames for spectacles, guitar picks and knitting needles. Despite being expensive, tortoiseshell was attractive to manufacturers and consumers because of its beautiful mottled appearance, its durability, and its organic warmth against the skin.
The initial processing involved separating the layers of the scutes from the animal's carapace by heating, softening the plates by boiling them in salt water and flattening them under a press. Two pieces could be fused by use of a hot iron, but like the earlier stages, great care had to be taken not to lose the colour. Finishing and polishing was done by various techniques mainly in Europe or in the US.Craftsmen in various Asian countries have also perfected this art.
In 1973, the trade of tortoiseshell worldwide was banned under CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species).The material was already often imitated in stained horn, plastic like cellulose acetate, and other materials, and this continues. The synthetic Delrin has been used especially for guitar picks.
Brands of synthetic substitutes for tortoiseshell include Tortoloid and Tor-tis.
Tortoiseshell has been used since ancient times, and the ancient Greek chelys or lyre often used a whole shell to form its body. Inlaid veneers of tortoiseshell were popular with wealthy ancient Romans for furniture, especially couches for dining, and for small items.The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea , probably a work of the 1st century AD, distinguishes between shell from different species, with that regarded as the best probably the hawksbill.
André Charles Boulle (1642-1732), cabinetmaker to Louis XIV of France introduced or perfected marquetry combining thin inlays of tortoiseshell backed with metal, with woods and metal, a style still called after him. Small luxury objects such as snuff-boxes were decorated in piqué work, inlays of precious metals and jewels into tortoiseshell (or other materials).
Hopes of capturing a large store of tortoiseshell led to the Ngatik massacre by Australian "beachcombers" of up to 50 men of Sapwuahfik in Micronesia in July 1837.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Tortoiseshell .|
Turtles are reptiles of the order Chelonia or Testudines. They are characterized by a special bony or cartilaginous shell developed from their ribs that acts as a shield. Colloquially, the word "turtle" is generally restricted to fresh-water and sea-dwelling Testudines. Testudines includes both extant (living) and extinct species. Its earliest known members date from the Middle Jurassic. Turtles are one of the oldest reptile groups, more ancient than snakes or crocodilians. Of the 360 known extant species, some are highly endangered.
The red-eared slider, also known as the red-eared terrapin, red-eared slider turtle, red-eared turtle, slider turtle, and water slider turtle, is a semiaquatic turtle belonging to the family Emydidae. It is a subspecies of the pond slider. It is the most popular pet turtle in the United States and is also popular as a pet across the rest of the world, and is the most invasive turtle. Because of this, it is the most commonly traded species of turtle in the world.
Marquetry is the art and craft of applying pieces of veneer to a structure to form decorative patterns, designs or pictures. The technique may be applied to case furniture or even seat furniture, to decorative small objects with smooth, veneerable surfaces or to freestanding pictorial panels appreciated in their own right.
Sea turtles, sometimes called marine turtles, are reptiles of the order Testudines and of the suborder Cryptodira. The seven existing species of sea turtles are the green sea turtle, loggerhead sea turtle, Kemp's ridley sea turtle, olive ridley sea turtle, hawksbill sea turtle, flatback sea turtle, and leatherback sea turtle.
The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, also known by its Latin name as the Periplus Maris Erythraei, is a Greco-Roman periplus written in Koine Greek that describes navigation and trading opportunities from Roman Egyptian ports like Berenice Troglodytica along the coast of the Red Sea, and others along Horn of Africa, the Persian Gulf, Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean, including the modern-day Sindh region of Pakistan and southwestern regions of India. The text has been ascribed to different dates between the first and third centuries, but a mid-first century date is now the most commonly accepted. While the author is unknown, it is clearly a firsthand description by someone familiar with the area and is nearly unique in providing accurate insights into what the ancient Hellenic world knew about the lands around the Indian Ocean.
A guitar pick is a plectrum used for guitars. Picks are generally made of one uniform material—such as some kind of plastic, rubber, felt, tortoiseshell, wood, metal, glass, tagua, or stone. They are often shaped in an acute isosceles triangle with the two equal corners rounded and the third corner less rounded. They are used to strum chords or to sound individual notes on a guitar.
Emydidae is a family of testudines (turtles) that includes close to 50 species in 10 genera. Members of this family are commonly called terrapins, pond turtles, or marsh turtles. Several species of Asian box turtles were formerly classified in the family; however, revised taxonomy has separated them to a different family (Geoemydidae). As currently defined, the Emydidae are entirely a Western Hemisphere family, with the exception of two species of pond turtle.
Rhapta was a marketplace said to be on the coast of Southeast Africa, first described in the 1st century CE. Its location has not been firmly identified, although there are a number of plausible candidate sites. The ancient Periplus of the Erythraean Sea described Rhapta as "the last marketplace of Azania", two days' travel south of the Menouthias islands. It was named Ῥάπτα due to the sewed boats which were used there. The Periplus also states that the city and port were ruled by some Arabian vassals of the Himyarite kingdom, particularly a certain leader who it names as a “ Mapharitic chieftain.”
André-Charles Boulle, le joailler du meuble, became the most famous French cabinetmaker and the preeminent artist in the field of marquetry, also known as "inlay". Boulle was "the most remarkable of all French cabinetmakers". Jean-Baptiste Colbert recommended him to Louis XIV of France, the "Sun King", as "the most skilled craftsman in his profession". Over the centuries since his death, his name and that of his family has become associated with the art he perfected, the inlay of tortoiseshell, brass and pewter into ebony. It has become known as Boulle Work, and the École Boulle, a college of fine arts and crafts and applied arts in Paris, continues today to bear testimony to his enduring art, the art of inlay.
The red-footed tortoise is a species of tortoise from northern South America. These medium-sized tortoises generally average 30 cm (12 in) as adults, but can reach over 40 cm (16 in). They have dark-colored, loaf-shaped carapaces with a lighter patch in the middle of each scute, and dark limbs with brightly colored scales that range from pale yellow to dark red. Recognized differences are seen between red-footed tortoises from different regions. They are closely related to the yellow-footed tortoise from the Amazon Basin. They are popularly kept as pets, and over-collection has caused them to be vulnerable to extinction.
Turtling is the hunting of turtles. Turtling has been a part of human culture since as far back as the middle of the first millennium BC, where sea turtles such as the hawksbill sea turtle were eaten as delicacies in countries such as China. While consumption and hunting of turtles is less common than it was in the past, this practice is still a part of communities throughout the globe, whether done legally or illegally.
The western swamp turtle is a freshwater turtle known in Western Australia as the western swamp tortoise.
Inlay covers a range of techniques in sculpture and the decorative arts for inserting pieces of contrasting, often coloured materials into depressions in a base object to form ornament or pictures that normally are flush with the matrix. A great range of materials have been used both for the base or matrix and for the inlays inserted into it. Inlay is commonly used in the production of decorative furniture, where pieces of coloured wood, precious metals or even diamonds are inserted into the surface of the carcass using various matrices including clearcoats and varnishes. Lutherie inlays are frequently used as decoration and marking on musical instruments, particularly the smaller strings.
The yellow-footed tortoise, also known as the Brazilian giant tortoise, commonly referred to as the Brazilian giant turtle, or more commonly, the big turtle, is a species of tortoise in the family Testudinidae and is closely related to the red-footed tortoise. It is found in the Amazon Basin of South America.
Turtles are frequently depicted in popular culture as easygoing, patient, and wise creatures. Due to their long lifespan, slow movement, sturdiness, and wrinkled appearance, they are an emblem of longevity and stability in many cultures around the world. Turtles are regularly incorporated into human culture, with painters, photographers, poets, songwriters, and sculptors using them as subjects. They have an important role in mythologies around the world, and are often implicated in creation myths regarding the origin of the Earth. Sea turtles are a charismatic megafauna and are used as symbols of the marine environment and environmentalism.
The turtle shell is a highly complicated shield for the ventral and dorsal parts of turtles, tortoises and terrapins, completely enclosing all the vital organs of the turtle and in some cases even the head. It is constructed of modified bony elements such as the ribs, parts of the pelvis and other bones found in most reptiles. The bone of the shell consists of both skeletal and dermal bone, showing that the complete enclosure of the shell probably evolved by including dermal armor into the rib cage.
The hawksbill sea turtle is a critically endangered sea turtle belonging to the family Cheloniidae. It is the only extant species in the genus Eretmochelys. The species has a worldwide distribution, with Atlantic and Indo-Pacific subspecies—E. i. imbricata and E. i. bissa, respectively.
Tortoiseshell is a material produced from the shells of species of tortoise and turtle, mainly the hawksbill sea turtle.
The bow frog is the end part of a stringed musical instrument's bow that encloses the mechanism responsible for tightening and holding the bow hair ribbon. Most of the bow frogs used in today's classical bows are made of ebony; some synthetic bows have frogs made with materials that imitate ebony, while Baroque bows use frogs made with various woods.
Worldwide, hundreds of thousands of sea turtles a year are accidentally caught in shrimp trawl nets, on longline hooks and in fishing gill-nets. Sea turtles need to reach the surface to breathe, and therefore many drown once caught. Loggerhead and hawksbill turtles are particularly vulnerable. Nearly all species of sea turtle are classified as Endangered. They are killed for their eggs, meat, skin and shells. They also face habitat destruction. Climate change has an impact on turtle nesting sites. As fishing activity expands, this threat is more of a problem.