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cornelistromp 24th June 2019 06:33 PM

Dutch hanger for russian market?
12 Attachment(s)
I recently purchased this hanger at an auction. The cutlass is of a very large proportion, almost 90 cm long, with big brass cast shells of unequal dimensions, an ivory carved grip and a cast pommel cap. the sharp blade has a slight bow and a 20 cm sharpened clip-point.
Weapons of this type, construction and material were made in the Netherlands in the second half of the 17th century, mainly in silver and brass.
My theory is that this weapon was also made in the Netherlands for the export market, probably Russia, given the design of the pommel cap.

The image of the Sultan on the shells, attacked by two hungry lions is probably Mustafa 2, an Ottoman sultan who reigned at the end of the 17th century.


M ELEY 29th June 2019 08:57 AM

How did I miss this one? Jasper, you've got a great eye for cutlasses! This one is a real beauty! Unfortunately, I've nothing to add on your export theory. Seems plausible enough. Lord knows the Dutch were importing and exporting all manner of fine swords during this period. Congrats on the cutlass and if you ever decide to part with it, well, you know the rest! ;)

cornelistromp 29th June 2019 10:49 AM

1 Attachment(s)
thank you Mark, yes it is indeed a beautiful and very interesting cutlass.
I think the image of the Sultan defeated by lions refers to the demise of the Turkish Empire in central Europe at the end of the 17th century.

fe The Treaty of Constantinople of 1700, after the Sultan had lost the Azov region to Peter the Great.

attached: Taking of Azov, a 17th-century Dutch engraving, 1699 - Adriaan van Schoonebeek


fernando 29th June 2019 04:25 PM

An excellent sword indeed; and with such a powerful blade for a hanger :cool: .

Victrix 29th June 2019 05:08 PM

Thatĺs a lovely sword, Jasper. Congratulations. I like the honest signs of wear and the historic decorations which you commented on.

Do you think the sword originally had a tang nut which was removed to rehilt it, and replaced with a peened tang?

Also I wanted to ask you if the Netherlands produced its own blades or imported them all. I know a lot was purchased from Solingen. In Sweden the king first ordered the production of local blades in the first half of the 17thC, which was organized by Admiral Clas Feming (whoĺs family ancestry was of Flemish origins not surprisingly).

cornelistromp 30th June 2019 11:33 AM

hard to tell if there had been a tang button, see fe examples on

there was a lively trade in arms in the 17th c.
parts were imported from everywhere and assembled into weapons in the Netherlands, fe blades from Solingen and Passau.
the Dutch arms market was a source for supply for everybody who wanted to wage war or was under attack.
In 1592 Sweden placed an urgent order for a regiment of 1500 people for the war against Muscovy in Holland; 200 muskets, 800 calivers,1000 helmets, 350 suits of armour , 1000 pikes , 500 rapiers and cutlasses and 30 drums. ( the arsenal of the world the dutch arms trade in the 17thC, p.14)


Victrix 30th June 2019 12:47 PM

Yes Sweden initially imported a lot of arms from the Netherlands. When king Gustavus Adolphus ordered the creation of local swords manufacturing in Vira bruk under the management of Clas Fleming, the products often showed Dutch design influences. Sweden smuggled in sword smiths from Solingen for the required expertise. There was a German smith in particular called Caspar Kohl (+1653).

Jim McDougall 30th June 2019 06:57 PM

I have been watching this discussion (and of course admiring this cutlass!) and am glad to see things develop. I am curious Jasper about the designation of Russia as the potential client for this particular hilt. I am not questioning it, but curious about the particulars.
It seems the Netherlands were especially fond of elaborate and decorative themes in their hilts for these high end dress swords. While they of course were indeed the 'arsenal of the world' as Puype so well put it, furnishing huge volume of other ranks arms.....these beautifully hilted swords excelled as well.

I had thought perhaps you meant that the lions devouring the Ottoman sultan were indicative of Russian victory over the Turks (in the generations of wars they fought against them) but realized that the lion was a key symbol used in Dutch themes as seen with their lionhead hilts.
It would seem that the Dutch had a kind of unusual circumstance with the Ottomans, as the Dutch were struggling with Catholic dominance there, and even had declared themselves 'better Turk than Papist' as see in the "guezen' associations in the 'Spanish Netherlands' (1556-1714). While they had varying degree of alliance or cooperation with Ottomans, I am unclear on that standing during the European Holy League (Austria, Poland, Venice) which also seems to have somewhat included Russia.

However, as always. arms trade knows no sides, and the commerce moves regardless of politics or any other delineating circumstance it would seem.

These thumb guard hilts seem to have prevailed long after that feature had diminished (after c. 1700) and these kinds of shell guard hilts survived and were produced in the simpler single shell form well through the 18th c.

I am wondering if refurbishing at some point in maintaining these long favored swords and keeping them serviceable might account for the seemingly incongruent peen.

That is the wonder of these magnificent swords, the stories that they often hold in the deviations and anomalies about them, that reflect the character established during their often very long working lives.

cornelistromp 1st July 2019 06:46 PM

During the Dutch revolt "Liever Turks dan Paaps" indicated that a cruel life under an Ottoman Sultan would have been preferred over a life under Catholic Spain. This was meant to be sarcastic, there was no war between the Turks and the Dutch.

as stated in post 1 the style, execution and materials (ivory) indicate a possible Dutch production of above cutlass, suitable for naval use.
Then why this image, where a Turkish sultan is being attacked by lions.
After years of naval battles at Azov, it might be appropriate for a Russian high rank soldier. This assignment is of course a personal assumption, but is reinforced by the very russian-looking motif on the pommel plate.

furthermore, the sword has been taken apart very recently, probably to clean and remove free play.
no further conclusion can be drawn from this. as I can see, all parts belong together.


Victrix 1st July 2019 10:51 PM


The size of the blade, choice of grip, and presence of a sea dog (some say dolphin?) on the upper guard supports the idea of maritime use. The figure looks like a saracen, not sure if there is any significance that he looks unbearded? Not sure Russia is included in the list of countries that use lions as a national symbol but perhaps the creatures are used here just to symbolize brave victory as Jim suggested? It looks like the motif appear on both plates? It really does tickle the imagination.

How can you tell that the sword has been taken apart very recently?

M ELEY 1st July 2019 11:48 PM

That is a very good point, Victrix, concerning the dolphin/sea monster finial. I also wanted to immediately blurt out 'sea service' sword, but we all know my biases when it comes to that! Of course, this heavy cutlass closely resembles other Dutch naval pieces of the era (and that of rival Great Britain, who had the brass naval monster head swords). If we take into consideration that possibility, could the hilt motif simply be allegorical?

The Barbary Corsairs, terror of the West African Coast, were heavily active during this time period. They attacked many European ships and forced some nations to pay them tribute just to sail through the Straits of Gibraltar unmolested. Obviously, the Dutch saw them as a scourge and perhaps some daring sea captain had this fine sword specially made (the two lions representing the Dutch lion, as their symbol from time immortal, attacking a Turk.) I'm wondering if any of the more famous Muslim pirates (the Barbarossa brothers, for instance), were beard-less?

cornelistromp 2nd July 2019 11:05 AM

1 Attachment(s)
the decoration of a jewel with feathers on the turban is a so-called šelenk, this was a sign or award for bravery in the ottoman empire.
because of this I came across an ottoman sultan.

attached Mustafa 2 carrying a turban with šelenk , compare with post 1 and here pictured with a small beard .


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