Beadwork from Turkish

Beadwork from Turkish

Prisoners of War, 1916

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framed size: 14½” x 16¼” • price: $1600

During World War I, Turkish prisoners were incarcerated in British camps in Egypt, India and Mesopotamia. Working within their established folk traditions and with glass beads provided by the British, some of these prisoners made beadwork objects that were then traded to guards or soldiers or sold in local shops. A 1917 International Red Cross report indicated that the prisoners were making “articles of colored beads – handbags, purses, necklaces, bracelets, etc. – which show considerable artistic taste.”

This grouping of six pieces of Turkish Prisoner beadwork, four necklaces and two bracelets, closely resemble other examples, some that are published and some that we know to be in private collections. These were likely made for one British fellow named Tom who had them made for his sisters, Alice, Rose and Lily, and it is fortunate that they remain together. The necklaces are approximately 12 inches long and the bracelets are 8½” long. They have been mounted together into a late 19th century faux finish frame.

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