40 Pair of First World War 'Trench' Lutes

40 • A Pair of First World War 'Trench' Lutes

M15 Adrian helmet
France, helmet first introduced 1915
70 cm long; steel, copper, wood

Stahlhelm M16
Germany, helmet first introduced 1916
80 cm long; steel, fir wood

The bodies of these lutes were made by musicians out of their army helmets during the First World War; one French and the other German: equipment of destruction turned into objects of harmony. On the French soundboard is carved a butterfly, perhaps a symbol of the brevity of life. Their owner Jean-Michel Renard keeps them together with the following quote from Hafid Aggoune’s Les Avenirs:

‘Danser en temps de guerre, c’est comme cracher à la guele du diable.’
(Dancing in time of war is like spitting in the face of the devil.)

40 Pair of First World War 'Trench' Lutes