Ethnographic Arms & Armour

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-   -   Late Gothic Crossbows and Accouterments (http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=7516)

Micke D 21st August 2011 01:09 PM

Thank you Michael!

I have seen this one before, and must say that I was a bit sceptic about it.
But know when I see that it is a wallarmbrust I'm okay with it.

Micke Dahlström,
Stockholm Lockbow Society,
Sweden

Matchlock 22nd August 2011 03:08 PM

Hi there,

I overlooked to point out that the nut on these heavy wall crossbows is not of bone as usual but of cast bronze or brass.

And Micke: thanks for agreeing! :)

Best,
Michael

Swordfish 4th September 2011 12:00 PM

Hallo,

the nut of this wall-crossbow is neither of bone nor of brass, but of hardwood as described in the catalgue.

Regards
Susi

fernando 4th September 2011 02:21 PM

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A Portuguese cavalry crossbow, used by King Dom Sebastião (1557-1578) personal mounted guard. The brass initial S can be seen on the stock.

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fernando 4th September 2011 02:29 PM

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A couple of crossbow bolts ( XV and XVI century) of many found outside the walls of São Jorge castle, in Lisbon.

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Matchlock 10th September 2011 07:13 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
A Portuguese cavalry crossbow, used by King Dom Sebastião (1557-1578) personal mounted guard. The brass initial S can be seen on the stock.

.



Thank you so much, 'Nando,

This sort of early Renaissance crossbows first of all appeared in Northern Italy, with one of the earliest being made for Maximilian I in about 1508, and the style was soon adopted in Spain in the 1530's and later in Portugal.

The one you illustrated can be safely attributed to ca. 1570. There are simillar but earlier samples preserved in the Real Armería Madrid, coming from Charles V's armory. The oldest features of these are the long 'Gothic' trigger which of course by then was just a trigger guard.


Best,
Michl

Matchlock 10th September 2011 07:21 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
A couple of crossbow bolts ( XV and XVI century) of many found outside the walls of São Jorge castle, in Lisbon.

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It's interesting to see how similar these bolt tips were made all over the Western world, from the Roman to the Renaissance period, over 2,000 years.

Best,
Michl

Matchlock 17th September 2011 04:21 AM

A Gothic Crossbow, South Tyrol, ca. 1480
 
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Preserved at Schloß Runkelstein near Bozen, South Tyrol.

Best,
Michael

Matchlock 22nd September 2011 06:18 PM

Some more 15th c. period artwork on crossbows and bolts
 
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Enjoy.

m

Matchlock 22nd September 2011 06:25 PM

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More.

m

Matchlock 22nd September 2011 06:35 PM

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More.

m

Matchlock 22nd September 2011 06:36 PM

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More.

Matchlock 22nd September 2011 07:00 PM

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The rest.

Best,
Michael

Matchlock 22nd September 2011 08:08 PM

An Especially Fine Gothic Crossbow, ca. 1460, Swiss Country Museum Zurich
 
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I owe these images to my friend and our member Alexander (Spiridonov) - thank you you much, Alexander! ;)

Please note the unique cross section photos of the various glued layers on the inside of a Gothic composite bow and the special stamped pattern on the bow surface!

Best,
Michael

Matchlock 17th October 2011 05:24 PM

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An unusually fine Tyrolean example offered by Peter Finer in 2009.

The zooms enable perfect studies of the variety of Gothic patterns that the bow covering is stamped with!

m

Matchlock 17th October 2011 05:27 PM

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The rest.

fernando 17th October 2011 05:33 PM

Magnificent !!!

Matchlock 17th October 2011 05:57 PM

Thank you, 'Nando!

The zooms were sent to me by Peter just to inform me. :cool: :eek:

Best,
Michl

Matchlock 25th October 2011 07:00 PM

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Some period artwork, a South German woodcut of 1513.

Best,
Michael

fernando 30th October 2011 05:20 PM

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A few images of early crossbows.

1 - Hunting with a XII century crossbow. The bow was already of the composite type. The stock is very short, so that the shooter had to extend his arm to aim. At the Lisbon National Archives.
2 - Crossbowman at rest. First half XVI century. At the National Museum of Antique Art.
3 - No ID.
4 - No ID.
5 - A Portuguese crossbowman. One of the famous bronzes of Benin(Dahomey). Mid XV century. 40 cms. high. The care taken by the artist in the details is notable, to the extent of clearly showing the "armatoste" (arming device) hanging from from the soldier's waist.
6 - "Caça de boi" (hunting with ox). So called because the hunter hides behind a structure covered with an ox skin, to easier approach the game. A tile panel in the São Vicente de Fora Monastery. First half XVIII century.

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Matchlock 31st October 2011 05:58 PM

Thank you so much for contributing this period artwork, 'Nando!

Best,
Michl

Matchlock 4th January 2012 06:29 PM

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Some interesting illustrations from an Alamanic or Swiss manuscript, ca. 1430.

Best,
Michael

Swordfish 6th January 2012 02:50 PM

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A gothic crossbow with horn bow dating c. 1430-1460.
This crossbow failed to sell at an auction some years ago, because it was wrongly described as Scandinavian dating c. 1500.
A few years later I saw it in a private collection, where I took the photo.
In this collection was also another crossbow of typical central European shape with a tiller made of fruit-wood and a spanning-hook at the upper side.
Both crossbows had identical (really identical, not only similar) elements:
The strongly reflex horn-bow, the stirrup, the cord binding and the trigger lever. Therefore both crossbows must have been made by the same maker or in the same wokshop. This workshop was in South-Tyrol. This is proofed by an exhibition label on the bow inscibed by hand with No. XII and with a latin text stating that this cossbow was was once in the collection of Castle Rodeneck (South-Tyrol),and dated 11.April 1891.
The crossbow on the photo is a somewhat simlpler version than the usually known ones. The tiller is made of more durable oak, the side plates are iron sheets instead of less durable horn plates. The only decoration are the horn plates on the upper side. The spanning- hook is on the bottom side, probably for a cord-puller, as can be seen on Italian paintings of the period.
While the horn inlaid crossbows with fruit-wood tillers can be described as all purpose crossbows suitable for sporting, hunting and war, the crossbow on the photo is surely only for one purpose. It is a war-crossbow.

Matchlock 8th January 2012 02:50 PM

I have known this crossbow since it first appeared on the market and I too know who it is with. There are some doubts about it, but anyway the iron side plates are of a surface that keeps me from thinking it might be all original. After all, a label from 1891, the heyday of the Victorian period (German Historismus) when many of these arms were widely reproduced, is certainly no proof of Gothic authenticity, at best of Neo-Gothic made ...

So I had my reasons for not posting it here.

Best,
Michael

Swordfish 8th January 2012 05:02 PM

There can be no doubt that this is a gothic crossbow. As
mentioned before all elements of this crossbow, except of
the stock, are identical to a known typical central european
crossbow. The iron side plates are nearly identical to the side
plates on the Wall-crossbow you posted in thread #40.
The crossbow was in the collection of an experienced collector
who still owns the other one with the bone inlaid fruit-wood stock.

Matchlock 9th January 2012 05:28 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Swordfish
The iron side plates are nearly identical to the side
plates on the Wall-crossbow you posted in thread #40.


But their surface does not commensurate with the alleged period of the other components! And the collector has been in close contact with a number of German and Austrian forgers over the decades, they have been interchanging various arms for display in their repective collections. I noticed the same crossbow in another far-off collection about one year after is was for sale with HH.
m

Micke D 10th January 2012 03:59 PM

I must agree with Michael on this one, I don’t like it.
And I didn’t like it when I first saw it at Hermann-Historica either. Then it turned up in Holger Richters, Die Hornbogenarmbrust: Geschichte und Technik (Gebundene Ausgabe - Oktober 2006), where it still was said that it was a Scandinavian crossbow. I tried to convince Richter that the Scandinavian Saami crossbows had tillers somewhat similar to this but not until the 18th c, and there was certainly no people that could make horn bows left at that time, but he still thought that it was a Scandinavian crossbow.

“Both crossbows had identical (really identical, not only similar) elements:
The strongly reflex horn-bow, the stirrup, the cord binding and the trigger lever. Therefore both crossbows must have been made by the same maker or in the same workshop.”

Is it possible that you could show us the other crossbow that you say is identical to this one?
Do you know the dimensions of this crossbow?
Is it a wall-crossbow or a big handheld crossbow?

Here I must say that I have never seen a horn bow of this size with this much reflex, of course I know of the early crossbows like W1109 in Köln, but they are of another time and type.
Can you show me a similar reflexed bow?

The yellow-greenish cord binding looks suspect to me and most probably not original. The stirrup should be lashed to the bow with leather and not the cord binding that holds the bow. The stirrup doesn’t look like anything I have seen before, it’s very thin and the outside ridge looks like it’s pressed from the inside, it looks very suspect.

This is the first old (?) crossbow that I have seen with a tiller of oak.

“There can be no doubt that this is a gothic crossbow. As mentioned before all elements of this crossbow, except of the stock, are identical to a known typical central european crossbow. The iron side plates are nearly identical to the side plates on the Wall-crossbow you posted in thread #40.”

I’m sorry but I can’t see anything on this one that I would say is typical of a central European medieval crossbow. If it had had a bow shaped more like the one in thread #40, and of similar size, I would have it easier to accept it.

Mikael Dahlström,
Stockholm Lockbow Society,
Sweden

Matchlock 10th January 2012 06:26 PM

Excellent notations, Mikael, and exactly on the point! :)

All crossbow tillers I have seen were of either fruitwood or lime wood, except this one.

Best,
Michael

Micke D 11th January 2012 12:56 PM

Hi Michael!

Are you sure that it was lime wood? Any photo's?

I have seen many paintings with light coloured wellowish tillers that looks like they probably are too light to be fruitwood, but I havn't seen anything like it that has survived in any museum.

Mikael Dahlström,
Stockholm Lockbow Society,
Sweden

Matchlock 11th January 2012 07:20 PM

Hi Mikael,

I cannot seem to find the photos of the crossbow with that kind of wavy grain on the tiller that made me think of maple or limewood. So just forget about my idea. I also talked to my friend whose special collection I posted,

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...othic+crossbows

and he testified that all Gothic crossbow tillers he had ever seen were of fruitwood, mostly pear and cherry, including the three fine pieces he owns.

The white tillers you mentioned might have remained 'in the white', unvarnished, as many sources of period artwork (paintings) indicate, as well as the stocks of many early arquebuses. I'm also afraid none of those seems have survived, maybe partly due to later cleaning or restoring measures - or simply to hundreds of years of exposition to daylight.

It's so good to have a member with your range of experience here on the forum - so WELCOME! ;)

Best,
Michael

Micke D 12th January 2012 04:02 PM

Hi Michael!

Thank you for the nice words and the welcome :o , but I think I still have a lot more learning to do about my special interest, “Late Gothic horn bow Crossbows and Accouterments”!

I would like to have a collection like your friend has!!! :D
Do you think he is willing to testament it to me? ;)

I guess that maple is a better choice than lime, I think that lime wood is probably a bit too soft for a crossbow tiller.

I probably know which crossbow you meant. The crossbow in the Osthofentor Museum in Soest has a tiller that has the striped look of maple, the same wood as used for violins and other instruments of that type. The tiller wood on this crossbow is stained to have a pear/cherry color and not the natural light color of maple, but I think that almost all crossbow tillers were stained during medieval times, (and maybe later also). This crossbow has some odd inlays and a unique type of dotted pattern on the bow, but I think it is authentic.

Micke Dahlström,
Stockholm Lockbow Society,
Sweden

Matchlock 13th January 2012 06:50 PM

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Hi Micke,

You are completely right about the Soest crossbow, this was the one I meant.

Nevertheless, we know many paintings with white, unvarnished crossbow tillers and arquebuses. I am conviced that in times of war, wood on weapons was only meant to survive for few days or weeks, at best. Then the stocks were broken at best and replaced. Even in Thirty Yeras War paintings, we notice white stocks on both matchlock and wheellock guns. I guess, due to their quick consumption they were just not worth staining.
In my collection, a ca. 1645 Austrian matchlock musket is preserved with white (now heavily patinated) beechwood stock. It came from the Styrian castle of Schloss Frondsberg, from where about 15 similar muskets were sold via Tom Del Mar a couple of years ago, all in the same untouched condition with rust patinated iron parts and unstained stocks, with all the traces of original carving still visible.
A few images attached.

What's even more, I own the earliest known completelety preserved gun in the world, High Gothic, ca. 1400, the lock mechnism and hook being working time alterations of ca. 1430. Its crude oak stock much resembles a compemporary crossbow tiller (!), it is of heavily patinated brownish gray surface and shows no traces of staining whatsoever.

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...=oldest+handgun


Remember: crosssbow bolts (quarrels) were an absolute mass production and certainly not stained originally - and look at their dark colored oak or ash surfaces now! :cool: :eek:


As to limewood, it is not only soft and easy to carve but at the same time very tough. As I mentioned various times, most early 16th c. arquebus stocks were made of limewood, as their very special scent of incense denotes.

Best,
Michael

Matchlock 13th January 2012 10:42 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Micke D
Hi Michael!

I would like to have a collection like your friend has!!! :D
Do you think he is willing to testament it to me? ;)


Micke Dahlström,
Stockholm Lockbow Society,
Sweden



Hi Micke,

Most of his collection used to be in mine before we got to know each other and I decided on concentrating on earliest firearms and accouterments, which turned out to totally absorb my time, knowledge and money ...

I'll make contacts between the two of you though.

Best,
Michael

fernando 13th January 2012 11:20 PM

Oh, i wish i could find a genuine hilt for my katzbalger :shrug:

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=14555

Matchlock 14th January 2012 12:14 AM

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Hi 'Nando,

As I said: take off the outcurved sides of the wood with a raw rasp to smoothen them, then touch them with glue and apply a rough cord binding. You may then stain the hemp binding brown with wood stain. All that hasn't to be done though to make your Katzbalger look good and authentic. It already does, at least to me. :cool:
Did you soak the iron parts in olive oil? Smoothen them just lightly with 600 grain paper and oil them!!! You will be overwhelmed!!!!

BTW, are you sure your post was placed in the right thread, my friend? :eek:

Best,
Michl

fernando 14th January 2012 05:28 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matchlock
BTW, are you sure your post was placed in the right thread, my friend? :eek:


You are obviously right, Michl :o .
I have already moved your and my post to the correct thread ;) :cool:

.

Matchlock 18th January 2012 03:00 PM

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Hi Micke,

This is the by far earliest known dated but composite cranequin: 1474 and a Gothic trefoil decoration (three punch marks) on the ratched bar, which is doubtlessly the earliest part of the cranequin. The date is struck in correct Late Gothic cyphers, and the lichen-like patina seems absolutely correct to me.
The short length of the bar (without the belt hook) of only about 34 cm is also a Late Gothic phenomenon, and so is the shape of the claws. The gear box seems to be a primitive 17th c. addition when this cranequin was possibly re-used onsome farm or so. The long and straight iron handle also shows Gothic style elements and might well have originally belonged.

It was sold for about 600 euro at a Danish auction house in November 2010, maybe not exactly the real deal for an advanced collector because of the crude alteration.

Best,
Michael

Matchlock 20th January 2012 02:57 PM

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A fine piece of period artwork, a psalter illumination of ca. 1300-10, Lake Constance area, Southern Germany, showing scenes from the life of St. Katharina of Alexandria.

Please note the reinforcements of the bow.

Best,
Michael

Matchlock 10th February 2012 04:36 PM

A Late Gothic Cranequin, ca. 1500
 
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Overall length of the ratched bar 43 cm.
In poor, overcleaned and pitted condition throughout: the original lower cord loop for attaching to the crossbow inaptly replaced by an iron clamp, several rivets obviously replaced, as well as the original wooden crank arm handle.
The bar struck with a maker's mark, now indistinct as mostly polished off.

Best,
Michael

Matchlock 11th February 2012 02:02 PM

The famous Baumkircher Crossbow Preserved in the Vienna Imperial Armory
 
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Author's photos, 1994.

This Late Gothic crossbow, Vienna inv.no. A 108, ca. 1460-70, with painted composite horn bow is of unusual dimensions, denoting that its owner, knight Andreas Baumkircher, who was executed in 1471, was a man of enormous physique. His coat-of-arms, a church and a house, is painted on the underside of the bow against a read ground, amidst yellow rays against a green ground.

The second Late Gothic crossbow of about the same date is also preserved in Vienna, inv.no. A 464; the long trigger indicates that the rear of the tiller (now heavily wormed) was originally ca. 10-15 cm longer.

Best,
Michael


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