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Unterlagen ~ One-Off Embroidery

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    Unterlagen ~ One-Off Embroidery

    I participated in a recent thread that had me banging heads with a member over stylistic nuances of the embroiderer’s work which I felt were, well, “stylistic nuances” (no big deal), which can/do exist on original items while fellow member Robert felt the presence of these stylistic features was never present on originals of the period and were probably signs of post war manufacture. Robert will likely never put me on his Christmas list as a result of our butting heads but the dialog got me thinking of the templates that were used at the time and the “features” that were present versus those that were effected freehand.

    I don’t ‘believe’ there was one source for unterlagen any more than there was a single source for anything else in the Reich as was evidenced by certain awards, bestowed so few times that one would imagine a single source easily supporting all the needs yet reality showing numerous sources. The examples below, I believe, demonstrate that reality. The second examples (image swiped from a post here by Bob Hritz) shows two clearly different templates having different features which would (again, I ‘believe’) result in less than cookie cutter examples that some insist (at least in SS insignia) must be the case if the item is period made.
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    #2
    In the thread I mentioned above ( http://www.wehrmacht-awards.com/foru...42190#poststop ) we ended up focusing on the existence (or non-existence) of period made SS General’s tabs with the signature feature of “pointy stems”. I believe the pointy feature is nothing more than artistic indulgence (“style”) on the part of the period embroiderer while Robert shared his belief the non-uniform feature isn’t acceptable. As I said, that thread had me pondering unterlagen and the one-off, custom embroidery features that insignia of this kind can reflect. So I looked at what features were actually ‘there’ and which reflect artistic license and with that in mind, where I collect some General’s stuff, I looked at General’s tabs.

    The two most prominent examples of template v. style ‘variants’ might be the prongs and the balls of the Larisch style tabs. Cleary, the template/unterlagen reflects unremarkable prongs while the embroiderer has embellished his/her prongs with some rather neat curls that weren’t part of the unterlagen which one can’t help to compare to the rarely found ‘pointy stemmed’ SS General tabs. These curls to the prongs or pointy stems on the other thread reflect (I believe) the ‘style’ of the embroiderer
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      #3
      Some birds ~ note that the Police bird has a distinctive ‘crest’ on its head that’s not reflected on the template ~ the SS is one was presented by Dedman here on the forum.
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        #4
        Some more ~
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          #5
          What’s interesting is how often you can note the embroiderer’s flair by his/her adding nuances that aren’t on the templates such as the curls on the Heer tabs or the crest on the eagle. On the Para badge below the acorns were an artistic embellishment not on the template. The Luftwaffe Engineering General’s tab also shows details that aren’t reflected on the template. Note the stabilizing ‘bar’ at the top of the wreath that’s usually removed after embroidery but remains across the top of the subject’s finished wreath.
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            #6
            More of Gary’s signature tabs for sale here: http://www.svmilitaria.com/images/41216a.jpg ~ send in the hounds ~ For the record, I don’t concur with Gary’s premise on all these so-called double chevron tabs being fakes but there’s already a thread for that quasi-debate. By all means, review it.

            Below are more ‘differences’ to regulation rank tabs:
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              #7
              So, in the grand scheme of things, what’s it all ‘mean’ beyond Rick has too much time on his hands?

              Not a damn thing beyond original, one-off, hand-embroidered insignia used a template which is defined as “anything that determines or serves as a pattern; a model” and that one-off, hand-embroidered stuff is subject was either total compliance with said pattern/model or embellished to whatever degree the artisan wanted to add ‘flair’ or had time for while pursuing his/her craft. Just because fancy ‘curls weren’t at the end of a Heer General’s prongs, a crested head of an eagle, stems or acorns (2, 6 or 8) weren’t part of a Luftwaffe wreath (or even pointy stems on an SS General’s tab, below) weren’t part of the template/unterlagen, it’s my belief that it doesn’t mean these features, when seen, are an automatic sign of some Pashtun manufacture. It just means the embroiderer (like me) had some time on his/her hands.

              If folks have more examples of unterlagen I would love it if they would post imagery.
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                #8
                Very good and informative research, thanks!
                Yours faithfully!
                Yury

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                  #9
                  "The Luftwaffe Engineering General’s tab also shows details that aren’t reflected on the template. Note the stabilizing ‘bar’ at the top of the wreath that’s usually removed after embroidery but remains across the top of the subject’s finished wreath."

                  I was referred to this thread by a friend who did not even want to bother posting a response....I assume this is in response to the "pointy stem" tab discussion in the SS section.

                  I, like many, do not have the time or inclination to read in detail all of Rick's lengthy discussion but I did want to make a clarification/correction in his analysis.

                  There is an error, or omission of fact, in his description/analysis of the Luftwaffe Engineer General tabs. Attached is the complete picture of these tabs that he edited for his analysis. These tabs are FAKE. They are acknowledged as fake by the owner. The tabs were a free gift to the owner from George Petersen when he purchased (from George) a matching, but original, set of boards, also attached. These are the only known pair of loose boards I have seen/handled of this rank.

                  So while I can not speak to the originality of the other items Rick is using for examples in this thread, I do know the Luftwaffe tabs are fake.

                  Gary B
                  Attached Files
                  ANA LM #1201868, OMSA LM #60, OVMS LM #8348

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                    #10
                    In Rick C's first paragraph of his opening post, he states "...Robert felt the presence of these stylistic features was never present on originals of the period ..."

                    As has been very well documented on WAF, almost never say "never." Too many variations of all kinds exist in period photos where some have said that was "never" done. Rick's thoughts on how these embroidered pieces were hand done is an extremely strong argument, as in impossible to refute, that yes, variations did exist.

                    Steve
                    ~ The true test of a democracy is how well it protects the rights of its least popular citizens. ~

                    ~ Never cross swords with an unworthy opponent. ~

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                      #11
                      Originally posted by Steve Sherlock View Post
                      In Rick C's first paragraph of his opening post, he states "...Robert felt the presence of these stylistic features was never present on originals of the period ..."

                      As has been very well documented on WAF, almost never say "never." Too many variations of all kinds exist in period photos where some have said that was "never" done. Rick's thoughts on how these embroidered pieces were hand done is an extremely strong argument, as in impossible to refute, that yes, variations did exist.

                      Steve
                      Hi Steve,

                      I am not sure if you read the thread in the other section but if not, I recommend you read it in its entirety. There is probably some "lost in translation" occurring but in any case I think the above statement is an oversimplification of Robert's remarks. "Everything" can be a interpreted as a stylistic interpretation which is what makes cloth so tricky. It's not like a badge where we know what pin/hinge combo a manufacture used. One has to draw their own conclusions based on their experiences. As you can see the pointed stems tabs are controversial to some of the top SS collectors. Whether all are real, all are fake or some real/some fake is what is being debated. I don't think any cloth collector would disagree that there are variations in embroidery.

                      Gary B
                      ANA LM #1201868, OMSA LM #60, OVMS LM #8348

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                        #12
                        The subject of hand embroidery during the period is a fascinating and frustrating one as it can be extremely difficult to authenticate.

                        To judge an embroidered piece according to a strict set of criteria is a mistake in my opinion as it doesn't take into account the human aspect which will generate endless variations and levels of expertise. Let's not forget that masses of these things were produced not by skilled artisans but by slave labour.

                        I've seen some magnificent embroidery work from the period and some terrible ones. I've also seen some authentic yet really funky looking eagles for example that don't follow any known templates that I know of.

                        However, you can only collect this stuff on the basis of what you are comfortable with. If that means that the item (and not just embroidery) must not deviate from the examples that you are familiar with, so be it but one shouldn't force those limitations on others. No reason to fall out with them in the process either and it saddens me that it's happened in this case.

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                          #13
                          Originally posted by Gary B View Post
                          [COLOR="Red"][I]I, like many, do not have the time or inclination to read in detail all of Rick's lengthy discussion but I did want to make a clarification/correction in his analysis.

                          Well, if you had actually “read” what I said you would’ve known I said the tab in question was one described as “fake” and that, while I didn’t agree that all those you call out as fakes, I noted your thread saying it was worth reviewing. Thus, there’s no “correction” required of my analysis required because I wasn’t even ‘analyzing’ the subject tab beyond pointing out (as with the other examples) that differences (added features) exist between the template and the finished insignia.

                          (In my next life I promise I’ll buy a cell phone and get used to texting while I drive so I can learn to use emojis and keep my posts brief & less ‘wordy’ and thereby not bore folks like yourself with “lengthy discussion” while making a point ~ maybe by then they’ll have published a snowflake dictionary of terms like “WTF” and “LMAO” so I can use a plethora of those codes rather than real English words to express myself and not stress your reading skills.)

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                            #14
                            The RAD template is interesting in that the shovel's handle doesn't actually reach the shovel blade.

                            On the other hand, my Luftwaffe insignia is pretty much spot-on with the unterlagen.

                            The following emoji reflect my 4PM cocktail hour:
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                              #15
                              ~
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