18th Century American Antique Treen Folk Art Stay Busk Love Token Bearing The Initials “O + S”, Attributed to Nantucket


18th Century American Antique Treen Folk Art Stay Busk Love Token Bearing The Initials “S + O”, Attributed to Nantucket


An absolutely wonderful folk art/sailor art 18thC American antique treen stay busk love token, most probably made by a sailor whilst at sea for his betrothed.

Possibly made by a sailor based in the US whaling town of Nantucket.

What is a stay busk?

Before 1830 corsets were called stays. They were an essential part of a woman’s undergarments, forcing the body to the fashion shape of the season. When tightened the stays could damage a woman’s body by distorting and repositioning her internal organs. Stay busks were inserted into the front of stays to flatten the wearer’s stomach. They restricted movement making it impossible to bend forward!

This example is beautifully scratch-carved with the addition of polychrome to the front with a number of forms including love hearts, pentagrams, heptagram, a roundel of daggers and the initials “O + S”.

Condition – Good as per the images.

Size: Length 34 cm (13 1/4″)

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