Welcome to our special Twelve Blogs of Christmas! We will update this blog every day until Christmas to celebrate this festive time of year. Taking you through the traditional Christmas carol, these special blogs will provide an alternative view of the song using some of the wonderful objects from the University of Aberdeen Museum collections.
So first things first, a partridge in a pear tree; we have chosen this lovely bird perched on top of a carved wooden structure (a carved tree, if you would!). This dancing bird was carved by a Catholic mountaineer from Albania. The bird would have danced as someone played a Lahuta – a simple mountain lyre: a thread attached to the player’s right hand little finger would make the bird dance.
This object was collected by Margaret Hasluck (1885-1948), who was born in Elgin. She studied Classics at Aberdeen and Cambridge Universities and travelled widely in the Balkans. She settled in Albania, the country she loved, but was forced to flee from her home when the Germans invaded in 1943.