Possum skin cloak

4 01 2017

posum-skni-coat-p

Among its other treasures -a safari of stuffed animals, dinosaur skeletons, Papua New Guinean outrigger canoes, a living rainforest in a courtyard and the remains of champion racehorse Phar Lap – the Melbourne Museum is home to two of only seven remaining nineteenth-century Aboriginal possum skin cloaks in the world. These capes were items of huge ceremonial significance to the Yorta Yorta and other Aboriginal peoples of Victoria, who after all, had to face the Melbourne winter. I was disappointed to find the collections’s 1853 cape not on display but there were several newly-sewn versions and a video about the revival of this once steeply-imperilled craft.

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