bullet crucifix

Catalogue number
  • EPH 1915
Department
Exhibits
Materials
  • whole: metal
Dimensions
  • Base: Diameter 4.4 cm
  • Crucifix: Height 15.5 cm
  • whole: Width 8.3 cm
Alternative names
  • full name: bullet crucifix
  • simple name: TRE
Category
souvenirs and ephemera

© IWM (EPH 1915)

Purchase & License
Label

Ostensibly a piece of First World War 'Trench Art', there are two elements in the construction of this piece that suggest that it is of post-First World War manufacture. Firstly the cartridges are a strange hybrid of British .303 inch cartridge cases and French 8mm bullets; latter being slightly too large to fit comfortably in the former. Secondly the figure of Christ and the circular base are cheap stampings in thin, lacquered, metal, quite unlike any material which might have been salvaged from a First World War battlefield. It would appear that it was produced for sale to battlefield visitors. Although the piece betrays signs of post-war origins, its general conception, if not its construction, closely reflects 'real' religiously-inspired trench art of the First World War. It possesses the same combination of religious imagery with the debris of war and the same juxtaposition of the paraphernalia of death with the symbology of resurrection.

Physical description

Upright of cross formed from two cartridges. They stand on a circular base, into which the nose of the lower cartridge is inserted. The upper cartridge is cut-off at the base and soldered to the base of the lower one. The arms of the cross are made from bullets inserted base-first into this upper cartridge case.

IWM Non Commercial Licence

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