Auction 80 Part 1 Jewish and Israeli History, Culture and Art
Jun 29, 2021
8 Ramban St, Jerusalem., Israel

The auction has ended

LOT 12:

A Beadwork Snake – A Souvenir for a Soldier of the Jewish Legion Made by a Turkish Prisoner of War – Egypt, 1919 – ...

  Previous item
Next item 
Sold for: $800
Start price:
$ 800
Auction house commission: 25%
VAT: 17% On commission only

A Beadwork Snake – A Souvenir for a Soldier of the Jewish Legion Made by a Turkish Prisoner of War – Egypt, 1919 – Decorated with the Soldier's Name and a Star of David
Beadwork snake and lizard made by a Turkish prisoner of war, for Eliezer Toubkin, a soldier of the Jewish Legion. [Egypt?], 1919.
A beadwork snake in shades of white, yellow, blue and green, inscribed "ELIEZER TOUBKIN, JAFFA" and "40. TH.R.F" (40th Royal Fusiliers); a Star of David on the snake's underside. With a (headless) lizard, its underside inscribed "1919".
In summer 1919, soldiers of the 40th Royal Fusiliers (the First Judaeans, whose soldiers were volunteers of the Jewish Palestinian Yishuv) were placed as guards in prisoner-of-war camps in Alexandria and Cairo. Throughout the war, the Allied Forces provided these camps with materials for popular works of art, in order to relieve the prisoners' boredom and allow them to earn some money for purchasing food, cigarettes and clothing. Among the works of art created by Turkish prisoners of war, beadworks were common – snakes, lizards, beadwork pictures, decorated belts, purses and more. Most of these works were offered for sale as souvenirs in curio shops and by street vendors in Cairo and Alexandria, bearing general inscriptions such as "Turkish Prisoner" and the year. Some works were custom-made, inscribed with the name of the commissioning soldier and often with customized decorations. The present work was made for Eliezer Toubkin while serving with the 40th Royal Fusiliers.
Eliezer Toubkin (1895-1974) was born in Liepāja, Latvia. He immigrated to Palestine in 1911, settled in Jaffa and established a construction materials factory in partnership with his brother. He was one of the first residents of Tel-Aviv and one of its builders. During World War I, he volunteered for the Jewish legion and served with the 40th Royal Fusiliers; after the war, he became a member of the Haganah. He married Yemima, daughter of the writer Alexander Ziskind Rabinowitz, and together they were among the founders of Moshav Avihayil, whose first residents were all veterans of the Jewish Legion.
Length of snake: approx. 150 cm. Good overall condition. Minor blemishes and missing beads. Length of lizard: approx. 7 cm. Good condition. Without head. Both placed in a frame.
Literature: World War I Turkish Prisoner-of-War Beadwork, by Jane A. Kimball. Journal of the Society of Bead Researchers, issue 19, pp. 5-16.
Provenance: The Rimon Family Collection.

  Previous item
Next item