40s kitsch

Kangaroo bookends
Aboriginal
motif placemats
made in Australia c. 1940s

Did I mention I like kitsch? These bookends are so of their time: the kangaroos are pewter, and have adopted that typical Skippy looking-over-the-shoulder stance. They stand on traditional Mulga wood- which has been cut and arranged to show off its famous bi-colouring. Mulga wood was used in 1940s souvenir works like these as it is a hardwood –unusual in a native from the wattle family – and was considered ‘export quality’. A transfer sticker on the base of the bookends, in the shape of Australia, proudly proclaims “Genuine Australian Mulga” in case one confuses it for fake Mulga, or worse still, a non-Australian Mulga.

The woven placemats are also genuine…a proud Aboriginal spear and shield-holder walks in front of a map of Australia- in case you mistake him for a proud Aboriginal spear and shield-holder from say, America. There are four placemats in the set…and the motif is arranged on the left side of the mat, so that plates, cutlery etc won’t obscure the motif.

My collection contains a fair few Aboriginal motifs…once considered to be in very poor taste,  they are now old and retro enough to be embraced by hipsters who didn’t encounter them the first time round.

For sale: $AUD65

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