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Soldiers have always made souvenir objects in their spare time to serve as a remembrance of war. Some types of "trench art" could be made easily during lulls in the fighting (finger rings made from melted down aluminum are a good example); however, the noise involved in making many trench art pieces would have been greeted with hostile fire from the enemy. Trench art items made during World War (WWII) were usually created at a distance from the front line trenches by soldiers "at rest," skilled civilian artisans, prisoners of war, wounded soldiers convalescing, and commercial business interests selling souvenirs to tourists. These pieces of trench art include an ashtray made from discarded large caliber brass shell casings and letter openers, one with a hand-fashioned brass blade in the Japanese style, and one with a hand-fashioned blade that has been decorated using the age-old technique of hammering with a pointed tool. Soldiers joked that these were bullets that "didn't have my name on them."


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Trench Art

date   1940-1945
location   Europe
process/materials   metal
accession #   #M.39

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See Also...

Mess Cup

Ammunition Box

Riding Crop

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