Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Shackles of the Rail

The Shackles of the Rail were commissioned by a elderly Irish rail worker to honor his deceased Chinese wife, both of whom had worked to construct the Southern Pacific Transcontinental Railroad. The image on the temple is the Celtic Eternal Knot, symbolizing his unending love for his spouse. The fabric is a Chinese brocade that was taken from a dress owned by his wife, and the coins that adorn the headstrap were a "compensation" for the loss of his left hand while servicing a decrepit steam engine during the time he was forced into service for the Louisiana Tigers.

Upon completion of the piece we discovered that the gentleman had left aboard a steam ship, leaving his worldly possessions to the care of his two children. His children in turn requested that the Armory keep the gentleman's commission, as they had no knowledge of his whereabouts or destination. The Armory returned his commission fee and now offer the piece at the nominal price of $50.00.