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.

Shasqua Sword

  • Dated: 19th century
  • Culture: Caucasian
  • Measurements: overall length 91 cm

The sword has a curved, single -and false-edged, with a Damask blade with double groove, becoming a triple one at the centre. At the first section there’s a stamp depicting and toothed crescent. The weapon has its typical hilt entirely silver-plated, with silver wire binding, engraved, gilt and nielloed with floral motifs. The wooden scabbard features red leather covering, silver mounts decorated with gilt and nielloed, floral and geometrical engravings and a band with a loop and one suspension ring.

Source: Copyright © 2014 Czerny’s International Auction House S.R.L.

Late Anglo-Saxon Sword 

  • Dated: AD 875
  • Found: 1874 in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, England

An iron sword fragment and hilt were found near Abingdon in Oxfordshire in 1874. The decoration on the sword hilt indicates this was a high status weapon dating from around AD 875. The style of the guards and pommel (Peterson style L) also suggest the sword dates from the late 9th to 10th century.

The sword hilt forms one of the most important examples of the late Anglo-Saxon silversmith’s art. The hilt is decorated with six silver engraved mounts; the engraved ornament on the mounts is in the Trewhiddle style - named after finds made at Trewhiddle, Cornwall. This style combines engraving and inlay with niello (black sulphide of silver).

The upper and lower guards are curved and contain various interlaced designs, including birds, animal and human figures, and foliate patterns. The figures on the upper guard have been identified as the four symbols of the evangelists.

The style of leaf used next to the figure of the eagle on the upper guard has also been identified on early tenth century embroideries from Durham, on the back of the Alfred Jewel and a number of other objects dating to this period.

The pommel incorporates two outward-looking animal heads, with protruding ears and round eyes and nostrils, now fragmentary. The lower portion of the iron blade is missing, however X-rays of the sword show that the blade is pattern welded.

The sword was acquired by Sir John Evans and presented to the Ashmolean in 1890. It is on display in the ‘England 400-1600’ gallery on the second floor.

Source: Copyright © 2014 Ashmolean Museum

Indian Sword

  • Dated: 18th century
  • Culture: Indian
  • Medium: steel, silver
  • Dimensions: overall length 34 inches (86.4 cm)

Source: Copyright © 2014 The Metropolitan Museum of Art

[ INTERMISSION ] Thank you!
Guys, I just want to say thank you to all of you for being here and for all your support. :)
Means a lot! <3

[ INTERMISSION ] Thank you!

Guys, I just want to say thank you to all of you for being here and for all your support. :)

Means a lot! <3

[ NEWS ] Cutting-edge craftsmanship for Plymouth’s Sir Francis Drake

A great deal of Plymouth’s prestigious history is sadly hidden away from the public gaze under lock and key. One of these treasures can be found in a glass cabinet at HMS Drake inside Devonport Naval Base.

Unbeknown to many, Sir Francis Drake’s sword takes pride of place in the officer’s mess of the Royal Navy site. There are several replicas of the sword – one of which is used by Plymouth City Council during ceremonial occasions in the Council House.

But an American historian believes Sir Francis Drake’s sword, kept under lock and key in Plymouth, is a “complete fake”. Oregon-based history buff Garry Gitzen made the claim after reading a piece on the historic item which appeared in The Herald on Saturday.

He said the article "wrongly identifies" the sword displayed in the officer’s mess hall of the Royal Navy’s HMS Drake base as Sir Francis Drake’s sword. "In my expert opinion, it is a complete fake just as the ‘Plate of Brass’ was exposed in the 1977 and 1979 Bancroft Library reports," Mr Gitzen said.

The actual original though is based at the aptly-named HMS Drake.

The popular belief is that it was given to him by Queen Elizabeth I in the late 1500s. He was reportedly knighted by Queen Elizabeth I on April 1st, 1581. Experts – both sword makers and historians – reportedly agree that the shape of the sword is typical of the 16th century, and that it was undoubtedly a ‘fighting’ weapon.

Weighing 2.75lbs, the sword has been in the Williams family since the 1890s. Lieutenant Godfrey Williams, who served in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (RNVR) in World War One, presented the sword to the Royal Naval Barracks in Portsmouth on permanent loan. It was transferred to HMS Drake in July, 1934, by the present owner – Major Idris Williams – who has given permission for the item to stay in Plymouth.

In a document detailing the sword and other items based at HMS Drake, it states of the sword: “The engravings on the blade are, on one side, a Royal Crown, a Tudor Rose, and an astrolabe (symbolising the circumnavigation of the world) which is held by the Divine Hand of Providence.

"There is also a visored helmet depicting the rank of knighthood. One the other side of the sword the Tudor Rose is replaced with a shield with decorative floral design and lions in the quarterings. On the other side to the Crown is the Royal Cypher ‘E.R.’. The engraving was once filled with gold although only traces remain. The document adds that the sword’s handle is made up of wire tightly wound around spiralled wood, and formed into a Turks head at each end. The guards and pommel are decorated with silver in the form of oak leaves and acorns," he adds.

In 1967 HRH The Queen, reportedly used the sword to knight Francis Chichester in a ceremony at the Royal Naval College, Greenwich, London. Sir Francis Drake’s presence is felt all around the officer’s mess of HMS Drake. A wooden bust of Drake stands proudly in a lounge.

A replica of Drake’s drum also sits in the entrance to the building. A copy of Drake’s ‘Plate of Brass’ – a plate which Drake wrote on to commemorate his claim to ‘Drake’s Bay’ as it became known near the present day San Francisco – is proudly fixed to the wall.

The Coconut Cup – said to have been brought to England by Drake is also kept in the officer’s mess as well as a silver model of the Golden Hind and various painted portraits and other trinkets.

Source: Copyright © 2014 Local World

Jian Sword with Scabbard

  • Dated: 19th century
  • Culture: Chinese
  • Medium: steel, jade, bronze, sharkskin
  • Measurements: overall lenght 28¾ inches (73 cm)

Source: Copyright © 2014 The Metropolitan Museum of Art

MAN AT ARMS: King Leonidas’ Sword (300)

Master swordsmith Tony Swatton recreates King Leonidas’ sword from the 300 film.

Source: YouTube

United States Cavalry Officer’s Sword

  • Dated: 1864
  • Medium: steel, wood, diamonds, a large amethyst, gilt bronze
  • Measurements: overall length: 43 1/2” length; blade length 34 3/4”

A piece of Civil War militaria, this presentation sword was given to United States Colonel William B. Sipes of the 7th Pennsylvania Cavalry in 1864. This sword boasts a handle carved of natural material bound by a gilt bronze cross guard and highlighted by a large faceted amethyst on the hilt.

The silvered scabbard boasts fine gilt accents, along with a diamond studded “S” and an inscription that reads “Presented to / Col W.B. Sipes / 7th Regiment Penn Veteran Cavalry / By the Friends of the Regiment / 1864.” This piece is housed in its original fitted hardwood case. 

Colonel William B. Sipes 1905 obituary describes the commander’s life, accomlishments and the presentation of this sword: "Colonel William B. Sipes, of Bath Beach, Brooklyn, New York, died at Phenix, Rhode Island, the residence of his daughter, Mrs. Mabel Sipes Spencer, on Monday, September 4, 1905, after a brief illnes of pneumonia. Colonel Sipes was an 1860 editor of the Pottsville Register, a weekly Douglas Democratic paper.

In the Avar of 1861-65 he led a Company of Infantry, as Captain, in the three months’ service, and later received authority from Governor Andrew G. Curtin to raise a Regiment of Cavalry, the Seventh Pennsylvania Cavalry, of which he gave the Colonelcy to General George C. Wynkoop, of Pottsville, himself taking the Lieutenant Colonelcy.

Upon the retirement of Colonel Wynkoop, he became Colonel of the Regiment. Upon the occasion of the reenlistment of the regiment in 1864, a banquet was given its officers on March 1864, at the Pennsylvania Hall, in Pottsville, at which a handsome sword was presented to Colonel Sipes by the ladies of Pottsville. […]

Colonel Sipes suffered much from a rheumatic affection during and since the war, but ably commanded the regiment in many of its most arduous and active campaigns. He was a most capable and efficient officer, kind hearted and courteous to all and of bravery beyond question.

In the celebrated charge of the regiment at Shelbyville, Tennessee, on the 27th of June, 1863, he led the charging column upon a park of artillery posted in the open square of the town, sabering the gunners, capturing four pieces of artillery and almost capturing General Wheeler […]”

Source: Copyright © 2014 M.S. Rau Antiques

Test cutting as you would use the cuts in actual fencing

This is one of my bugbears - cutting demonstrations that work great against a cutting target (eg. tatami mat), but which don’t represent how you would cut in a fight.

Source: YouTube

Piha Kaetta Dagger with Skewer and Sheath

  • Dated: 17th century
  • Culture: Sri Lankan
  • Medium: steel, horn, wood, brass
  • Measurements: Dagger (a); L. with sheath 11 1/2 in. (29.2 cm); L. without sheath 11 in. (27.9 cm); L. of blade 6 3/4 in. (17.1 cm); W. 13/16 in. (2.1 cm); D. 9/16 in. (1.4 cm); Wt. 4 oz. (113.4 g); Wt. of sheath 1.4 oz. (39.7 g); skewer (b); L. 9 1/4 in. (23.5 cm); W. 9/16 in. (1.4 cm); D. 9/16 in. (1.4 cm); Wt. 2.1 oz. (59.5 g)

Source: Copyright © 2014 The Metropolitan Museum of Art