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GIES: WWI "Mutter" medal

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Gies, Ludwig

Der Dundenden Mutter im Krieg 1914-1918

1918, Cast bronze, incuse reverse uniface, 45.20mm X 35.60mm, 9.40g. RRRR/Unique


A Mother Bears a Child in the War 1914-1918


The medal, formed in the shape of a Christmas tree, exhibits a naked, lounging woman, head to left and slightly raised, withh her child standing on her elevated left hip. Her left arm extends behind the child with her left hand grasping its left leg. The child stands facing front with its arms extended straight out to the left and right. A six-radiate star is at the top center just below the ring/clasp. This entire tableau is set upon a sculpturally raised earth element covered in grass and flowers. Below this element are the sculpturally raised words “DER DULDENDEN MUTTER IM KRIEG 1914-1918."


Ludwig Gies created a small sub-series of 'Mutter' medals and medalets at the end of WWI to commemorate the new mothers who gave birth while the father was away in battle. All of the Mutter medals exude the utter solitude and emptiness felt by he women even with the event of a newborn child. Perhaps Gies was commenting on the new mothers throughout the war years who never saw their husbands again.


Bernd Ernsting’s reference book records 9 designs in this series, WVZ 173 - WVZ 181. Only one studio cast medal was made for each design. This particular medal is not recorded in Ernsting but is clearly a Gies piece if viewed with WVZ 181 whereby the same woman, albeit clothed, and baby are sculpted onto an oval formatted medal. It is likely that this piece is also unique like the others. It, and another I wasn’t quick enough to get, come from a very old European WWI collection.

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Mother, baby, star, christmas tree.......... the Nativity springs to mind, especially as the child is in a crucifixion pose and is depicted 'higher' than the mother, also centrally placed as if the main character on the medal.


If it is not just the star on a christmas tree, do you know what, if any, is the symbolism of the depicted star?


I wonder why Gies would mingle and perhaps confuse the message of the despair of the new mother with the Nativity/christmas, unless it was to introduce the added distress of missing the husband/father at a time(christmas) when families are traditionally 'together' :ninja:

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