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The Sheep of Obi-Wan

Submitter: Tom Oosterloo
Description: One of the charms of Astron is that it is situated in one of the most beautiful spots in the Netherlands: the National Park Dwingelderveld. Very characteristic of this Park are herds of sheep freely grazing the Dwingelderveld, often right next to Astron where the above picture was taken.

These herds are actually of very special sheep. This is because they belong to the oldest breed of sheep of mainland Western Europe: the Drents Heathsheep (Drents Heideschaap) of which only a few thousand are left. Drents Heathsheep were kept in Drenthe as livestock already in prehistoric times and have been grazing the Dwingelderveld and places alike, exactly as in the picture, for about 6000 years. So the picture above is in a sense a time warp.

But the Drents Heathsheep are also special another reason: they are the sheep of Obi-Wan. It is the wool of Drents Heathsheep that was used to make the cloak of Obi-Wan and the other Jedi Knights in the movie Star Wars I (The Phantom Manace, broadcasted on TV in the Netherlands tomorrow). The wool of Drents Heathsheep is fairly sturdy. This is why it is preferred by artist Claudy Jongstra in nearby Friesland to make the felt she uses in her art (which you can see in places like the MOMA in New York, the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles and of course in the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam). And she used it for the felt she made for the producers of Stars Wars I who used it for the cloaks of the Jedi Knights. Next time you see the herd near Astron, think about this and imagine you feel a Disturbance in the Force...
Copyright: astron
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