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Clothing and Dress > Shawls

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Handknitted shawl made in Estonia, 1984 - 1994
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Object statement
Shawl, handknitted wool, maker unknown, Estonia, c. 1989
This hand knitted shawl was made in Estonia and possibly features a traditional pattern from the Läänemaa district. It was displayed in the Powerhouse Museum in 2007 in an exhibition called 'Meie uus kodu - Our New Home: Estonian and Australian stories', a joint exhibition of the NSW Migration Heritage Centre and the Powerhouse Museum in partnership with the Wollondilly Heritage Centre. The exhibition explored the harrowing stories told by Estonian migrants of invasion, dispossession and flight from Europe. It also revealed what settlement in Australia has meant to generations of Australian Estonians.

Australia is home to a small but thriving community from the northern European country of Estonia. At the end of World War II Russian annexation of Estonia saw over 6500 Estonians forced to abandon their homes and make a new life in Australia. This traumatic event was the catalyst for ethnic self-cognizance of traditional handcrafts to develop into an expression of national spirit. Knitting is thought to have been introduced into Europe via traders, crusaders and travellers from the Middle East. It is a strong part of the folk culture of Estonia with some of the oldest European knitted textiles dating from the late thirteenth or early fourteenth century having been found in Estonia.

Hand worked pieces are treasured items and important to Australian Estonians as they symbolise the harsh life, anxiety and struggle as well as joy and celebration in the rich and distinctive culture of their homeland. The patterns and technique of traditional Estonian knitting are still in use today by Australian Estonians and reflect their cultural and ethnic background. This beautiful hand knitted shawl represents the migrant experience of Estonians in Australia seeking to maintain a strong sense of nationalism produced by pride in their heritage, history, folklore and culture.
The shawl was given to the donor by a relative when he visited Estonia in 1997. Presumably handkitted by her, possibly in a traditional pattern from the Läänemaa district.
This shawl was featured in 2007 in 'Meie uus kodu - Our New Home: Estonian and Australian stories', a joint exhibition of the NSW Migration Heritage Centre and the Powerhouse Museum in partnership with the Wollondilly Heritage Centre.

 This text content licensed under CC BY-NC.

Description
Shawl, handknitted wool, maker unknown, Estonia, c. 1989

Handknitted woollen shawl made from cream-coloured wool and consisting of a traditional triangular design.

Made: Estonia; 1984 - 1994
Marks
No marks.
2007/128/1
Production date
1984 - 1994
Height
880 mm
Width
1600 mm

 This text content licensed under CC BY-SA.
Acquisition credit line
Gift of Dr Thomas Pill, 2007
Subjects
+ Traditional dress
+ Domestic crafts
+ Domestic needlework
+ post war migration
+ Migration experience
+ Estonian culture
+ Knitting
Short persistent URL
Concise link back to this object: http://from.ph/363163
Cite this object in Wikipedia
Copy and paste this wiki-markup:

{{cite web |url=http://from.ph/363163 |title=Handknitted shawl made in Estonia |author=Powerhouse Museum |accessdate=7 July 2015 |publisher=Powerhouse Museum, Australia}}


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