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World War I Turkish Prisoner-of-War Beadwork


Jane A. Kimball

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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 beadwork items to relieve the boredom of their prolonged imprisonment and to barter or sell for food and other amenities. Best known are the bead crochet snakes and lizards, but the prisoners also used loomed and netting techniques to produce necklaces, belts, purses, and other small items.

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The Society of Bead Researchers is a non-profit scientific-educational corporation founded in 1981 to foster historical, archaeological, and material cultural research on beads and beadwork of all materials and periods, and to expedite the dissemination of the resultant knowledge. Membership is open to all persons involved in the study of beads, as well as those interested in keeping abreast of current trends in bead research.

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