The word sculptor comes from Latin sculpere, related to scalpere, to cut, from the Indo-European root *skel-¹ ‘To cut’. Derivatives: shell, scagliola (plasterwork in imitation of ornamental marble), shale, scale¹, scall, scalp, scale³ (weighing scales), skoal (drinking vessel made from a shell), shield (a generic word covering all defensive weapons), shelter, skill, sheldrake, school² (of fish), shoal², coulter, cultrate, cutlass, scalene (having three unequal sides, used of triangles, from Greek skallein, to stir up, hoe > skalenos, uneven), shelf, half, halve, scalpel, sculpture, (these words from Latin scalpere, to cut, scrape, to carve). [Pokorny 1. (s)kel- 923. Watkins] Also scallops, the shell, which is a bivalve, or two half shells.
In Greek mythology Aphrodite (Venus) rose from the foam of the sea and was carried by a Scallop shell first to the island of Cythera and then all the way to Cyprus. The names of other shells are sometimes given, but Aphrodite is far more often portrayed in sculpture and paintings on a scallop shell. Scallops are the only seashells that travel the oceans. Scallop shells were the badge of pilgrims and served both as a symbol of the pilgrimage and were used as drinking cups, spoons, and dishes.
There are two cultural references, a famous renaissance painting titled "The Birth of Venus" by Alessandro Botticelli and a sci-fi book related to Kurt Vonnegut.
Venus on the Half-Shell is a science fiction novel by American writer Philip José Farmer, writing pseudonymously as "Kilgore Trout", a fictional recurring character in many of the novels of Kurt Vonnegut.
Farmer's story was first published in two parts beginning in the December 1974 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. The plot, in which Earth is destroyed by cosmic bureaucrats doing routine maintenance and the sole human survivor goes on a quest to find the "Definitive Answer to the Ultimate Question", was an inspiration for the plot of the later Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series.