Au Revoir à Reims: Large Baller de Prière - WWI
Item no. PB02161
Trésor Bleu Exclusive, Authentic, Inert
c.1917 (World War I) - Authentic Antique Ammunition with hand-carved artwork of Reims. The hand carving is extremely detailed for it's size: a work of art.
Dimensions: 8.5 inches high, 1.5 inches in diameter at the base.
We love that our trésors have years of wear, years of prayer. If only these "ballers de prièr" - prayer bullets - could talk. French soldiers in World War I created these artifacts by hand, by literally using ammunition casings to create sacred pieces of art, plentiful during WWI.
This particular piece has incredible historical significance. This piece was carved, by hand, in 1917 or 1918 as a commemorative piece to the destruction of the Reims Cathedral by the Germans. Reims was the site of 25 coronations of the kings of France, from Louis VIII in 1223 to Charles X in 1825, including the crowning of Charles VII in 1429 in the presence of Joan of Arc. Reims was one of many cities in northern France which were destroyed during the War. According to a French soldier at the time, "During World War I, historical monuments and cultural sites were not specifically military objectives. The cathedral of Reims, however, was a prime target because of its height, it could be used as an observatory around the city." Reims Cathedral became known as a "Cathedral martyr" because of the German bombardment. The German bombardment and a subsequent fire severely damage the world-famous cathedral. The destruction of this monument led to a strong wave of emotion across France.
This iconic, unique piece is a 38MM armour piercing anti-tank round, and has etching at the bottom indicating the date: 1914. The hand-etching was done in commemoration of this historic event. It is not clear whether the piece was shot by German or French, but believed to be German in origin, found at the site at Reims after the destruction.