Archive | 2019

The Isted Lion: From Memorial of War to Monument of Friendship



The bronze sculpture known as the Isted Lion is an interesting example of a memorial site of continuously changing meaning. Not only its meaning but also its physical location has changed over time—as it has been moved between towns and countries. Each move has been part of a process of politically motivated reinterpretations not just of the war, which the monument marks, but also of the wider context of the conflict and of changing political aspirations. The changing meanings and political interpretations have been closely intertwined with strong emotions and debates in the German-Danish borderland over some 150 years. But why this monument in particular? A concise answer is: because it has been able to act as the receptacle of widely different and contradictory remembrances. It speaks of an important event, possesses an inherent value as a work of art, and embodies a cultural heritage that is uncomfortable for both nations, but in its present location it also stands for reconciliation and a rejection of nationalist sentiments. This chapter aims to trace the history of this monument and its changing interpretations, and it details the debates that have surrounded its successive roles and meanings. In doing so it provides a close reading of how changing meanings are fabricated.

Volume None
Pages 279-303
DOI 10.1007/978-3-030-18091-1_9
Language English
Journal None

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