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Powhatan's Mantle

The most famous exhibit from the Tradescant Collection

This formed the major part of the Ashmolean's displays at its opening in 1683. A visitor to the Tradescant museum in 1638 recorded seeing there ‘the robe of the King of Virginia' and it was later catalogued as ‘Pohatan, King of Virginia's habit all embroidered with shells or Roanoke'. Powhatan was the father of Princess Pocohontas. The ‘mantle' may have had some function, such as a temple hanging, rather than being a garment.

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