Title World War One Tabernacle with Intricate Inlay and Marquetry Work: Wereld Oorlog's Gedenkenis 1914-15-16
Book Condition Very Good
Publisher Belgium presumed 1916 or 1917
Seller ID 003594
A highly unusual piece, probably one-of-a-kind, and as a memorial to those who sacrificed up to then in the First World War, uncommon in its general conception -- one will not find a lot of examples of artwork that is somewhat similar to this piece either. Large, measuring closed 81 by 54 cm. Each of two panels or doors is 69 by 27 cm and these open to reveal additional decoration. The doors on the outside have ten place names written with inlay running in diagonal zigzags: Vlaanderen, Antwerpen, Mechelen, Leuven, Namen, Zaleszoziki, Dunaburc, Salonika, Kaukasus and Yolmein. In between these place names, which represent battlefronts, places of contention or towns somehow suffering from the attacks by the Central Powers, there are playful inlays, that capture various instruments of warfare, or somehow loosely allude to such, such as a plane, a cannon, a ship. These are rendered with a child-like simplicity. On the inside of the doors the scheme is continued, but here the ten names are of the larger regions that these places are associated with, such as Lotharingen and the Dardanelles. The inlay motives here include a balloon, a red cross cart, a row boat. On the back panel, now also revealed, are the names of the combattants, and this includes both the Allies and Central Powers. Twelve countries are listed, including Japan, Montenegro, Bulgaria, and of course all of the main combatants at that time: England, Germany, Austria, Italy, Russia, Turkey, etc. The dating of this tabernacle, in fact, can be very confidently placed as 1916 or 1917 because of the conspicuous absence of the United States, which was still neutral and didn't enter the war until on April 6, 1917. Beside each of the twelve country names are inlays of tools and weapons of warfare -- a kind of military iconology. Included are things such as an anchor and a trumpet and bugle, however. Among the things making this a highly uncommon piece is that while it was clearly done by a citizen on the Allied side, it seems to express some sympathy for the casualties and suffering in the Central Powers as well. Minor losses of inlay pieces -- none of this is conspicuous or seriously affect the beauty and integrity of the piece. The door panels do not shut completely, as they probably did when the piece was created.