Summary

Alternative Name(s): Velentza

Shepherd's blanket which first belonged to the donor's grandfather Yannis Vlahos (Vlahos meaning shepherd in Greek). It is dated 1886, and was probably woven for Yannis by his mother in their village Yanina in northern Greece. Weaving and spinning was a strong tradition, in the village. The family had goats, sheep and a little land and bitter winter conditions made such blankets a necessity for long days tending the animals.

When Yannis was still a child he was sent by his parents to Alexandria in Egypt to work for a relative in their bakery - it was a hard life, paid little and he slept on the dough table in the bakery, such children were frequently treated harshly. The blanket was one of his few possessions. However Yannis' siblings ended up in Belgian coal mines, which would have been a much harder life.

Yannis went on to marry and raise a family in Alexandria - his wife was a refugee from Greece (from the Turkish invasion) and she too ended up in Alexandria which has a strong expatriate Greek community.

The blanket was brought to Melbourne by Alex Rizkalla when he migrated from Alexandria with his parents in 1966. The Israelis war was about to break out and his parents did not want him drafted into the army.

Physical Description

Small rectangular blanket hand woven from sheep or goats wool. The blanket has a dark boarder and some text in the centre.

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