Original WWI Ottoman Empire Turkish Prisoner of War Souvenir Purse
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Original Item: Only One Available. This souvenir beaded purse was brought back after the First World War. It was finely handmade and originates from the Ottoman Empire. Drawing on the rich tradition of textile crafts in the Ottoman Empire, Turkish soldiers incarcerated in British prison camps in the Middle East during and immediately after World War I made a variety of bead work items to relieve the boredom of their prolonged imprisonment and to barter or sell for food and other amenities.
Measuring 14″ long this wonderful necklace spells out: TURKISH PRISONER 1918 and features wonderful designs. This piece was made by the beaded crochet method or weaving on small looms. Crochet beaded snakes were the most popular of the beaded souvenirs created in the prisoner of war camps at the time, but purses were also made.
Prisoners who made the items might have been from the far-flung Ottoman Empire: Turkish, Kurdish, Arab, Greek, or Eastern European. According to recollections Seaman 2nd Class Cyril H. Gaudreau, he was given a snake by Turkish P.O.W.’s to thank him for teaching them how to play baseball.
This example is offered in excellent condition and is very high skill level, certainly one the nicest we’ve seen.