Butterfly Wing tray from Manaus, Amazon

Contributed by dempsie

Butterfly Wing tray from Manaus, Amazon

My uncle joined the Royal Navy as a young man and, before the second World War, his ship was sent on a courtesy visit to Manaus. He brought this tray home and gave it to my mother and it hung on a wall in my home throughout my childhood. The tray is made from beautifully inlaid Amazonian hardwood and decorated with the wings of different butterflies. To that young child, the tray spoke of places which were unimaginably exotic and impossibly far away. No longer, in 2009 I visited Manaus and stood on the dock where my uncle's ship was moored. The tray speaks of a time when it was normal for the Royal Navy to show the British flag in the far corners of the world as a symbol of British power and of a time when it was acceptable for wild creatures to be torn apart to make a decorative object. Those times are gone forever, the ships of the Royal Navy no longer visit ports just to show the flag and it is illegal in Brazil to sell or buy objects made from wild animals.

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About this object

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Location

Manaus, Amazonia, Brazil

Culture
Period

1936

Theme
Size
H:
28cm
W:
46cm
D:
3cm
Colour
Material

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