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Double-Sided Silk Map (South Pacific)

This silk escape and evasion map was made in 1944 by the Army Map Service of the U.S. army. On the bottom right corner, there is an “SF” which indicates it was printed at Sweeney Lithograph Company of Bellevile, NJ. It was created for the U.S. Army Air Force and features the Southwest Pacific Area. Silk maps were originally developed during World War II to help British soldiers escape enemy territory or POW camps, and continued to be produced after the War ended in both Great Britain and the U.S.

These silk maps were developed for MI9 by Charles Clayton Hutton to help British troops find their way back to their regiments if their planes were shot down in hostile territory or if they were captured in POW camps. Hutton had to find a material that was water-resistant, crease-resistant, and could be easily hidden and noiselessly manipulated. After extensive testing, Hutton found the perfect material: silk. Printed on silk, Hutton’s maps could be folded and hidden in boot heels, jacket linings, or even-most ingeniously-Monopoly game boards, and go completely undetected.

This map features the Indonesian islands of Sumba, Timor, Flores, and Sumbawa. The other side has two sections – the top shows Timor and smaller surrounding islands, and the bottom shows Java, Bali, Lombok, and Sumbawa. The tightly woven silk allows for clear prints, and two easily read sides.

Circa: 20th C

Origin: United States of America

Material: Silk

Condition: Very Good, some light staining

Dimensions: 36.5" x 32"

Inventory number: TX5048



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