pewter beaker

beaker with a portrait of Kaiser Wilhelm and the outline of the battleship, Wilhelmshaven, Germany, around 1900, pewter.
Private Collection

Around 1900, Chinese nationalists (“Boxers”) revolted against the Western colonial powers. Germany also sent troops to put down the uprising. At the farewell of the units in Bremerhaven, Wilhelm II gave his infamous Hun speech. It culminated in an appeal to the soldiers not to take prisoners.
On board the battleships was a naval officer (a chief bottelier) who received the two pewter beaker as a souvenir. Today they belong to the household of his great-grandson in Hamburg. The pewter has darkened considerably in the meantime, so that the contours of Wilhelm II and the battleships can only be recognized with a lot of good will.