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Knockaloe Camp bone vase

Date made: 1918

Description: One of a pair of carved beef bone vases, with a shaped polished wooden base with black lining and matching shaped, turned feet. The pair of vases were made in Knockaloe Civilian Internment Camp by an unknown internee. A single flower (an ornately carved rose) is hand carved in bas relief on the front of the vase, with a textured background of finely carved hatching. The rim of the bone vase is scalloped and has a band with a black line with spots (hand drawn in black ink), one of the points on the rim has been broken and repaired. The base of the bone is carved with a stone wall pattern and a matching black line pattern. The rose is finely carved so the stem is separate from the bone vase. A carved panel on the back of the vase has the inscription in black ink of 'Christmas 1918'.

The bone vase is a particularly well carved example of Knockaloe bone work and the decoration in black ink emphasises the whiteness of the bone.

This pair of bone vases originally belonged to Thomas Joshua Dodd, who employed internees at the saw mill in Peel. These items were given to him as presents by the internees at the end of the war.

During the First World War (1914-1918) the Isle of Man was used as an internment base for civilian ‘enemy aliens’. They were held in two camps, a requisitioned holiday camp in Douglas and a purpose built camp located at Knockaloe near Peel on the west coast of the Island. These held at their peaks over 4,000 and 23,000 men in some cases for nearly five years between opening in 1914 and final closure in 1919. Over 30,000 men passed through Knockaloe between 1914 and 1917, more than the population of Douglas. Other historic names referring to the camp include Knockaloe P.O.W. Camp, Knockaloe Prisoner of War Camp and Knockaloe Alien Detention Camp. The confinement of the prisoners led to specific behavioural issues known as ‘barbed wire disease’. Receiving its name from the aimless promenading of inmates up and down the barbed-wire boundary, other symptoms included moroseness and avoidance of others. It was decided that providing practical stimulation would help. The Friends’ Emergency Committee (a Quaker organisation) based in Great Britain was invited to the Island from 1915 onwards with the aim of providing books, tools, equipment and materials for the inmates to work and establish workshops.

Measurements: overall: 22.3 cm x 7 cm x 7.5 cm

Materials: mammal bone, wood

Object name: vase

Collection: Social History Collection

ID Number: 2003-0339/3

Subject tags : #mm100beautifulthings


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