NARWHAL HORNS, WALRUS TUSKS, ETC.
of the narwhal was regarded as an object of great value in Viking
times, partly on account of the difficulty and danger experienced in
obtaining it, and partly for its beautiful texture when carved. The
Vikings decorated the prows of their war galleys with these horns, had
them carved into sword and dagger-hilts, and also set them on staffs
and sceptres. Their wives wore hair-pins made out of this material, and
curiously wrought charms, which were considered talismans of good luck
both in love and war.
The ancient Chinese, apart from a superstitious belief in the potency of these "horns" against the machinations of evil spirits,
placed a high value upon them as medicinal agents. For this use they
were reduced to a powder and administered to the patient in water or
some other liquid. The Chinese also carved them into amulets or charms
of the God of Good Luck, believing that the wearer of such a charm
would not only be protected from danger, but would be fortunate in all
his undertakings and would enjoy good health and long life.
Unfortunately for those who wish to have a share of this good fortune,
the narwhal is now almost extinct, and is only rarely found in the
coronation chair of the kings of Denmark, preserved in the great
banqueting hall or Riddersaal, of Rosenborg Castle, is formed to a
great extent of the tusk of the narwhal. It was doubtless believed that
the presence of this material,