A clay carving depicting a mythical male lion with one leg resting on a ball. The lion has a collar with 3 clay bells attached to it. Engraved around the four sides of the base 59 Company 53279 Qing Zhou (Ching Cho) Yidon.
The carving was given to Major A S Campbell of the 59th Labour Company by a member of the Chinese Labour Corps of his company. Possibly named Yidon, no. 53279, 59 Company from Qing Zhou or Ching Cho in Shanding Province. Major Campbell's Papers are held in the Department of Documents.
This object is defined as 'trench art'; a categorisation that may be broken down into three further distinctions. Firstly, material made by the troops in the trenches which is the rarest of all forms of trench art. Most material made during the First World War was produced behind the lines, for example the Chinese Labour Corps apparently made items to order. Objects were generally functional and portable, as soldiers would have little room in their packs.
The next group of objects were made by the local populace in France and Flanders and were either sold to troops during the war or to widows or pilgrims after the war. These were generally larger and less personalised items. The last distinction were pieces made in the UK made as mementos for the home, from items such as shells brought back from France by returning soldiers and by disabled or wounded soldiers as occupational therapy.
For further information see Nicholas Saunders, 'Trench Art: A Brief History & Guide, 1914-1939' (Barnsley, South Yorkshire: Leo Cooper, 2001) held by the Department of Printed Books
The carving was given to Major A. S. Campbell of the 59th Labour Company by a member of the Chinese Labour Corps. Possibly named Yidon, no. 53279, 59 Company from Qing Zhou or Ching Cho in Shanding Province.