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Beadwork snake

Glass beads - 1917

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Turkish prisoner of war beadwork snake

This beadwork snake was made in 1917 by a Turkish prisoner in a First World War British prisoner of war camp. It was probably made in Egypt, where the majority of camps were located, but there were also camps throughout Europe, the Middle East and India.

The snake is constructed of beaded crochet and is stuffed, probably with rags. In British camps the Ottoman prisoners of war were not generally made to work so craft activities were a popular pastime. Beaded snakes, often with inscriptions like this one, were probably popular because they are quite a simple shape to make. Snakes are also considered to bring good fortune in some parts of south-east Europe.

Museum object number REDMG : 2007.71.1

See related topic: World Collection: War and Hunting

See related topic: World Collection: Ornamentation

'Turkish Prisoner of War beadwork snake', in the collections of the Australian War Memorial.