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Mussel Poles

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Exotica, Natural History & Works of Art

Mussel Poles

Slender sculptural forms created by the movement of water and the passing of time

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Mussel Poles

Probably European

2nd half of the 20th Century

Heights 226 cm and 201 cm (89 in and 79 in)

These palm tree trunks have sculptural shapes and a very unusual surface texture brought about by water erosion over a long period. The stout poles are sunk into the sea bed in certain specific tidal areas to provide a fixing for the mussels which are initially grown in nurseries on ropes which are then attached to the poles.

The mussels migrate from the ropes to the wood where they remain feeding for about two years after which time they are harvested. Obviously over decades the poles are eroded and finally replaced. However, during this time they develop a wonderful texture and form. This is a method of growing mussels which is used in many parts of the world where the coastal conditions are right; amongst other things they need a sheltered area with a good food supply.

Incidentally the French probably have the longest history of mussel culture which apparently dates back to the early 13th century. These poles are probably 20th century.

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