Shadow Boxes

According to tradition, when a sailor leaves his ship for the last time it is considered bad luck for his/her shadow to touch land first. Therefore a “symbolic shadow” is created with a box containing momentos, records of accomplishments, etc, to be safely carried ashore within the box. Here is an example of a vintage sailor’s shadow box:

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The Victorians enjoyed shadow boxes as well and put together boxes of keepsakes, photographs and other items of sentiment. They used them to commemorate occasions such as weddings and here is another example:

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In the 20th century an American artist called Joseph Cornell (1903-1972) became well known for his shadow boxes. He used to comb the streets of New York looking for fragments of things that once were of value. He would put them together in an “irrational juxtaposition” and considered himself a Surrealist. Here is one example of his work:

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My next charity shop find is, I think trying to emulate a Victorian shadow box but was made much more recently.

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There is no signature but it was framed in Halifax.

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