Art of Swords

Sword
/sôrd/
Noun
1. A weapon consisting typically of a long, straight or slightly curved, pointed blade having one or two cutting edges and set into a hilt.
2. An instrument of death or destruction.

Silver-Encrusted Swept-Hilt Rapier

  • Dated: circa 1610
  • Culture: German
  • Measurements: overall length 125 cm / 49.2 inches

With a hilt of blackened iron, formed of oval bars, comprising a pair of horizontal quillons, the sword has a pair of arms each supporting an outer-guard of three rings diminishing in size towards the base. The upper two rings are canted towards the pommel, while the largest ring is joined by a branch to the knuckle-guard and the lower ring filled with a sprung-in solid plate.

The inner-guard of four more slender bars splayed from a common root emerging diagonally from the middle of the knuckle-guard, their four opposite ends grouped in twos and joined to the median points and to the heads of the arms respectively, with large gadrooned globular pommel rising to a button over the apex of the blade tang, and moulded wooden grip bound with wire between wire Turk’s heads.

The pommel and the outer surfaces of the bars profusely decorated with silver-encrusted ornament chiselled in low relief and inspired by the published engravings of Etienne Delaune, constructed as spiralling patterns of leafy strawberry tendrils carrying both flowers and fruit, enriched with pellets and framing a series of three cherub masks at the centre of the outer-rings.

The inner surfaces decorated throughout with delicate patterns of scrolling foliage lightly damascened in silver, and the plate set within the base of the outer-guard damascened en suite and involving a hare pursued by two hounds.

The blade of characteristically slender tapering form, of flattened hexagonal section towards the base, with flattened rectangular ricasso, and struck with a series of small decorative marks enclosing a two-part neo-Italian bladesmith’s signature stamped within the fuller on both sides, the outer face stamped “A.N.T.O.N.I.O.” and the inner stamped “P.I.C.I.N.I.N.O.”

Source: Copyright © 2014 Peter Finer

Jade-hilted Short Sword

  • Dated: 18th century
  • Culture: Indian, Mughal
  • Measurements: overall lenght 61.5 cm

The sword has a slightly curved, tapering, single edged of watered steel blade. The jade hilt is carved with lotus finials and set with turquoise gems.

Source: Copyright © 2014 Bonhams

Wilderness Ironworks: The way of the Blacksmith

This brief film shows Ryan Stauffer and Robert Burns forging in a primitive setting while they talk about blacksmithing, their views on the craft, and the forging of an axe.

To find more information about Ryan and Robert, their school, and products please visit their website.

Source: YouTube

Handmade Swords - Earil

  • By Peter Lyon of Weta Workshop
  • Edition Size: 1
  • Measurements: Blade length: 915mm (36”). Overall length: 1217mm (48”). Weight: 1.94Kg (4 pounds 4 ounces). Balance point: 71mm (2.8”) along blade, measured from the shoulder of the blade

The sword has been made especially for the Weta Cave and Weta’s Online Shop to sell to the public. It is similar to late medieval European longswords, but with design flourishes transform it into a piece of art as well. A longsword is light enough and balanced to be used with one hand, but it can also be used two handed for powerful cutting blows. The blade is broad for much of its length, making for strong cuts, but comes to an acute point for effective thrusts, making this a true cut-and-thrust sword.

The individual parts have shapes and detail lines that blend into each other and continue into the next component, so that shapes continue even as the materials change, and the shapes of all the hilt parts draw the eye towards the diamond shaped bosses in the centre of the grip, filled with polished Paua (New Zealand abalone) shell each side. At the same time there is a strong central line through the hilt and along the blade, emphasising the straight and symmetrical shapes of the sword.

This sword has many nautical features which led me to the name, “Aearil”, which in Elvish means “Gleaming Ocean”. 

The straight blade is ground from spring steel bar, and has been heat treated to give the best possible combination of toughness and edge hardness. Historically blades were forged into shape and to remove flaws in the steel, but the consistency and high specifications of modern steels mean this is no longer necessary.

The bevelled edge is blunted for safety and display, but could just as easily be sharpened for cutting tests. The tang of the blade is strong and wide, and passes through the cross guard, grip and pommel, and is peened over the end of the pommel for maximum strength.

The cross guard is cut from a block of mild steel. From the centre block it projects along the blade and towards the ends, which are split into a fork. This is an unusual feature which I don’t recall being used on a sword before. The cross is set onto the shoulders of the blade for extra strength and stability, as was done on medieval European swords to prevent the cross becoming loose and rattling through use.

The grip is made of beech wood, covered with leather. Thin cords under the leather create the designs, and the leather has been carefully tooled to fit into all the shapes created by the cords. The grip was mostly drilled out then fitted by heating the tang and burning out the remaining wood for a tight fit, and finally glued in place. It is a two handed grip; the foregrip is straight to give a strong gripping surface, while the waisted shape of the upper grip encourages the second hand to nestle into the inside curves of the pommel.

The mild steel pommel is also a counterweight for the blade. It is shaped somewhat like a fish tail, with curved and recessed faces to add interesting shapes, and also to remove weight and get the best possible balance for the sword overall. The pommel was set tight onto the tapering tang before the end was peened over.

Source: Copyright © 2014 Weta Ltd.

Cinquedea Sword

  • Dated: circa 1530
  • Culture: Italian

The sword has an etched blade that is partially gilded. The scenes depicted on the blade are “Leda and the Swan” and “Jupiter and Io”. The guard and pommel are made of iron and gilded.

Source: Copyright © 2014 Fricker Historische Waffe

General Leblois’ Chinese Saber

  • Dated: circa 1915
  • Measurements: overall lenght 34 1/2”. Blade lenght 23 1/2”

With a delicately arched grip and an ornate scabbard adorned with mixed metal damascened inlays of silver, copper and brass, this saber sword was the possession of French General Paul Adoplhe Leblois (1857-1930), a decorated hero of World War I. The inlays that adorn the sword are unquestionably rare, with few examples of such artistry attainable today. 

Sidenotes:

  1. Noted throughout his career for his bravery and military prowess, Leblois was grand Defense Commander in Saigon in 1910, leading the Fifth Colonial Infantry Brigade in 1912 and becoming the General of the Colonial Division in 1914.
  2. That same year, Leblois led the Second Colonial Division to a triumphant performance in battle. In 1917, Leblois was elected President of the Colonial Committee, and by February of 1918 he was named the Head of the French Troops in Indochina.
  3. For his illustrious military career, Leblois was awarded the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor in 1926.  

Source: Copyright © 2014 M.S. Rau Antiques

Cup-hilt Rapier

  • Dated: mid-17th century
  • Culture: Spanish
  • Measurements: overall length 97 cm

Featuring an oval pommel and beaded knucklebow, the cup of the hilt features a rolled rim. The blade is forged with undulating edges in flamberge style, with central ridge and short, deep fullers to forte. The blade is marked, "FRANCISCO / RUIZ IN TOLEDO", together with the Solingen Running Wolf mark on either side.

Source: Copyright © 2014 Auction Flex

Twin Dao Swords

  • Dated: circa 18th century
  • Culture: Chinese
  • Medium: steel, copper, silk, wood, leather

Source: Copyright © 2014 Historical Arms & Armor

Small Sword

  • Dated: circa 1780
  • Culture: French, Paris
  • Medium and Technique: forged steel blade; partially gilt and russet steel hilt; steel wire, leather bands, wood core
  • Measurements: overall - l:103.50 cm (l:40 11/16 inches) Wt: .36 kg. Blade - l:86.10 cm (l:33 7/8 inches). Guard - w:8.30 cm (w:3 1/4 inches)

Source: Copyright © 2014 Cleveland Museum of Art

Wakizashi Sword

  • Dated: late Edo Period: 1603-1867
  • Culture: Japanese
  • Medium: steel, copper, ray skin, silk, wood
  • Measurements: blade length: 55 cm. Tang lenght: 12 cm

The tang (part of the blase encased by the handle) measures 12 cm. The koshirae (mounting) has two menuki, a bird and a crescent, and two seppa and habaki in copper. The tsuba is also made of copper, featuring vegetal decoration. The kozuka of the sword is also of copper and shows a fishing scene. The tzuka is covered in ray skin and silk rope, while the sheath in brown wood with enlarged tip, featuring a decoration of small black birds.

Source: Copyright © 2014 The Caravana Collection