Elgg, Mantel Keramik AG, 1943(?)
Coarse clay (grog), underglaze drawing
height 23.5 cm, width 23.5 cm, depth 6 cm
When the Swiss secured their borders in 1943, although it led to grave difficulties, especially for small companies and in agriculture, many a soldier was happy to be granted leave and to put aside his pack having earned his laurels - as is represented on this pair of tiles. The bag shown is the traditional hide covered, Swiss infantryman's knapsack. Only the pack used by the Basle regiment differed from this design and material (being made of sailcloth). The helmet on top of the mess tin, known as a 'Gamelle' (porringer), could be worn with the neckshield either in front or behind. The hide knapsack represented here is not packed in the prescribed manner; the gas mask, which was obligatory even during leave, is missing. On top is the detachable haversack, under which the nailed boots are attached by a strap tied through the loop on the heels. The correct rolling of the greatcoat, the 'Kaputt', needed extensive practice. The Mantel Keramik AG in Elgg allowed individuals to decorate their own stove tiles, which may have been the case here, for the handling is more draughts manlike than is appropriate to ceramics.