100694 | GERMANY. Totentanz satirical cast iron Medal.

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    100694 | GERMANY. Satirical cast iron Medal. Issued 1916. Totentanz (Dance of Death) series: Irish Easter Rising (69mm, 60.42 g, 12). By W. Eberbach.

     

    • MAISTRAUSS • VON • DER • GRUENEN • INSEL • 1916 • (May flowers from the Emerald Island), Death, wearing sailor cap, holding bouquet of flowers, and smoking a pipe, seated right on gravestone inscribed HOME / RULE / •R•I•P• in three lines / • DEM • GENERAL • MAXWELL • DEM • / ••• TOTENGRÄBER IRLANDS •• (to General Maxwell, Ireland's gravedigger), Celtic harp pierced by shovel, the spade of which is adorned with the Irish coat-of-arms. Edge: Plain.

     

    The Art of Devastation, p. 265, no. 61; Frankenhuis 1495. Gem Mint State. Flawless deep gray surfaces.

     

    Similar to the satirical medallic issues of Karl Goetz, Walther Eberbach was inspired by the events of World War I to create a series of rather morbid medals to propagandize the German war effort. The theme upon which he decided to focus was the Totentanz, or "Dance of Death." This series of issues, a divergence from the ephemeral topic of vanitas, portrayed Death as a skeleton, quite gleefully taking joy in the demise of his enemies—the allied powers—rather than a subtle reflection upon life and death. This frank morbidity is expressed by Eberbach himself in a letter to Julius Menadier, in which he writes "...I want whoever holds the pieces in their hands years later to be overcome by the shudder grimness." It's safe to say that, in this desire, Eberbach was astoundingly successful.

     

    Home Rule was a cause which Ireland championed in her effort to gain freedom from Great Britain—Ireland having long since been under English rule. Seeing an ally in that they shared an enemy, Germany supported Ireland's cause, both in concept and in arms. The Easter Rising in Dublin was an armed insurrection from 24–30 April 1916 in which rebels took up arms against British rule. The uprising was quelled under the command of General Sir John Maxwell, who ordered the executions of many of the rebellion's leaders shortly thereafter in May.

     

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