Ethnographic Arms & Armour

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

Matchlock 20th April 2012 05:39 PM

1 Attachment(s)
I found this late-15th c. crossbow, together with a ca. 1530's cranequin, preserved in the Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio.

See follower post.

m

Matchlock 20th April 2012 05:46 PM

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A late-Gothic crossbow, ca. 1470, with composite horn bow, together with what seems to be one of the finest contemporary cranequins in existence; in the Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio.

m

Matchlock 20th April 2012 07:48 PM

A Remarkable Site on Crossbows and Accouterments!
 
http://www.google.de/imgres?q=crane...r:13,s:47,i:203

Unfortunately, no references to the respective museums are given ... :(

m

Micke D 21st April 2012 07:16 AM

That one is in Paris Michael!

fernando 21st April 2012 11:29 AM

I have the one that belonged to Wlrich of Würtemberg in one of my books but, unfortunately, no provenance is mentioned :shrug: .

fernando 21st April 2012 11:51 AM

Arming the crossbow
 
2 Attachment(s)
Another one without any mention :o .
Can you date it, Michl ? :shrug:

.

Matchlock 21st April 2012 12:37 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Micke D
That one is in Paris Michael!



The one in which post?

m

Matchlock 21st April 2012 12:37 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
Another one without any mention :o .
Can you date it, Michl ? :shrug:

.


Not any closer than 1st half 16th c.

m

Micke D 21st April 2012 05:13 PM

The crossbow shown in post 123, with cranequin and arrow is from Paris.

Matchlock 21st April 2012 05:42 PM

4 Attachment(s)
Great, Micke, ;)


Thank you so much.

By Paris I guess you are referring to the Musée de l'Armée. When I was there by appointment, I sadly had to find out that the medieval department was closed.

Could you please let me know whether the attached quarrel casket is also there? (all images copied from the site quoted in post 123).
Please do post more images anyway - some folks here are definitely waiting to see you sharing your archives!!! :)

Btw, here is the fine Paris crossbow, ca. 1460-70, together with a matching late-15th c. cranequin.


Best,
Michael

Matchlock 21st April 2012 10:49 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matchlock
A late-Gothic crossbow, ca. 1470, with composite horn bow, together with what seems to be one of the finest contemporary cranequins in existence; in the Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio.

m


Do you think that the crossbows in posts no. 121 and 122 are identical? I realize it's highly probable but the dimensions of both the tiller(s) and the cranequin(s) seem to differ ... maybe due to the different angles the photos were taken ...

What do you think, Micke?

m

Matchlock 22nd April 2012 03:04 PM

7 Attachment(s)
Two Late-Gothic quivers in the Vienna Arms Collection (Wiener Waffensammlung); the first of leather, of very slender shape and retaining its rare lid cover;
the second of wood covered with boar skin (the bristles now missing), the fletches painted read and green, the basic Late-Gothic colors, denoting their provenance: Schloss Ambras.
Photos from flickr.

Attached are two quarrels with painted fletchings from Schloss Ambras, and a view of the Vienna armor hall.


Best,
Michael

Matchlock 22nd April 2012 09:41 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Micke D
The crossbow shown in post 123, with cranequin and arrow is from Paris.



Oh yes, Micke,


Shame on me! :rolleyes:

The same photo, only smaller, is contained in Reverseau's 1982 book Musée de l'Armée - Les armes et la vie, which of course is in my library but I somehow overlooked it.

Still: do you have any other photos to post?


Best,
Michael

Matchlock 22nd April 2012 09:55 PM

1 Attachment(s)
As a supplement to post 132, concerning Ambras quarrels with fletches painted red and green:

a detail from Thalhoffer's fencing books, 1459, vol. I, fol. 62.

m

Micke D 23rd April 2012 04:52 AM

I will try and post something this week.

Matchlock 23rd April 2012 06:28 PM

We are looking forward to your contributions!!! ;)

m

Matchlock 28th April 2012 04:00 PM

14th and 15th C. Crossbows Employed on Horseback!
 
12 Attachment(s)
Such pieces of period artwork are quite rare to detect.

The first instance dated 1461, the lower two ca. 1340, all from Swiss manuscripts.

At bottom a 1480's illustration from the Wolfegg Hausbuch, fol. 51v-52r, showing a crossbow in its quiver suspended from the saddle.

m

Matchlock 28th April 2012 04:52 PM

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The only other period illustration, apart from the Wolfegg Hausbuch, I have come across depicting a crossbow stored away in its quiver, 2nd half 15th c.

m

Matchlock 28th April 2012 05:24 PM

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Two more colored drawings from the Wolfegg Hausbuch, ca. 1480, of crossbows on horseback, the one on the left in the first picture stored away in its quiver.

m

Matchlock 28th April 2012 05:59 PM

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It is only with some reluctance that I post this as it was obviously redrawn in 1898 after an early-16th c. original depiction which is not verified. So we do not know how exact the drawing actually is.

m

Matchlock 28th April 2012 06:40 PM

4 Attachment(s)
Finally two characteristic illustrations from Hans Talhoffer's Fencing Books, vol. 2, dated 1459, fol. 194 and 195.

Please note that, like in most period artwork on 'military' crossbows and guns, the tiller is depicted undyed and unvarnished - the cheapest variant.


m

Matchlock 29th April 2012 06:36 PM

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Gothic crossbows and accouterments in the Landesmuseum Zürich, from the 1928 catalog by Gessler.

m

Matchlock 30th April 2012 06:25 PM

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A woodcut of a crossbow man, with the cranequin mounted and ready for spanning the bow; by Urs Graf, from a book printed in 1513.

An Albanian quiver for arrows, from the 1533 chronicle on the Prince of Scanderberg.

And a miniature bordure of quiver, from a codex of ca. 1520, St. Gallen, Switzerland.


m

Matchlock 24th May 2012 05:32 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Micke D
I will try and post something this week.



Can we still be considered, please?

m

Swordfish 31st May 2012 08:16 PM

1 Attachment(s)
This Nuremberg workshop arrow mark is also found on the barrels of matchlock Landsknecht arquebuses preserved in the Bayerisches Armeemuseum Ingolstadt, together with the same date 1537; this group of arquebuses was restocked in 1619 (two images attached).

My question:
From where is the information that thes arquebuses were restocked in 1619?

Best

Matchlock 1st June 2012 10:15 PM

4 Attachment(s)
A very fine Late-Gothic crossbow, ca. 1480-1500, mounted with one of the earliest etched and gilt steel bows which either might belong originally or could be a working-time replacement of a former composite horn bow.
It was sold comparatively cheap at 15,000 Deutschmark plus 23 per cent commission, Hermann Historica, 27 November 1982.

Best,
Michael

Swordfish 2nd June 2012 11:03 AM

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The bow of this crossbow is surely a later replacement and of a later date as the tiller. An etched and gilded bow does not match to the undecorated long tiller of a (war-)crossbow. Also the price of Euro 9,500 incl. commission in 1982 is not as cheap as it looks today (for a composite crossbow). If you calculate an inflation rate of 2,5 percent per year this sum commensurates with an amount of Euro 20,000 today.

A completely genuine late Gothic war-crossbow with steel bow was for sale at Hermann Historica October 2009, but remained unsold for a limit of Euro 16,000.
Length: 98cm
Weight: 6 kg

See attachments
Best

Micke D 8th June 2012 09:58 AM

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Hi Michael and all other crossbow friends!

I think I may finally have some time to check my files and post some, I hope at least, interesting Swedish crossbow stuff.

I’m beginning it with this late 15th century crossbow from the wooden parts of middle Sweden. It is from Skog parish in Hälsingland.
The crossbows of this type are all still of almost the same size and type as the long and slender 14th century crossbows. Its located today at Livrustkammaren in Stockholm, Sweden.

Micke Dahlström,
Stockholm LockbowSociety,
Sweden

Micke D 8th June 2012 01:44 PM

7 Attachment(s)
Hi again!

The second piece is this early – mid 16th century crossbow with a double axle lock, probably not a weapon made in Sweden, but an import from somewhere in Germany.

It’s a very special crossbow. It’s not a composite bow with horn, wood and sinew, but a wood and sinew only bow. I don’t know for sure, but I guess that the bow is made of yew wood.

The tiller is probably made in pear wood that is stained black to make more contrast to the long white horn/bone plates on the sides and top.

The string is not the original but the bolt clip could be genuine. The bow is not covered with the usual printed birch bark cover, except for the middle where scrap pieces of printed birch bark is used under the hemp string that binds the bow to the tiller. My guess is that stained parchment strips are glued to the bow as decoration. The parchment is only used over the sinew so the wood is fully visible at the back.

It is also located today at Livrustkammaren in Stockholm, Sweden.

Micke Dahlström,
Stockholm LockbowSociety,
Sweden

Matchlock 8th June 2012 01:56 PM

Hi Micke,


Great stuff, thank you so much!

I remembered the Livrustkammaren reserve collection!

It is especially astonishing to see the wooden bow and the crossbow that looks as if it were yet as early as ca. 1400, which of course it is not!

The bow decoration of the crossbow in post #149 much resembles that of a Romanian crossbow in the museum of Bukarest; see post #6.


Please hang on, Micke! ;)
This thread achieved a remarkable number of views which proves that our work is much appreciated out there!


Best,
Michael

Matchlock 8th June 2012 02:04 PM

One of the finest early cranequins in existence: a MASTERPIECE, Nuremberg, 1545!
 
For this unique piece, please see

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...sbow+collection

!!!

Matchlock 8th June 2012 10:15 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Micke D
I think that this one could be from 1480-1490 or something like that, based on the strange and probably early four-axle lock mechanism.

I have written a little article explaining my thoughts about how this one is related to two other 15th c crossbows.



Hi Micke,


Please forgive my stupidity, and my not asking earlier:

Would you please be so kind and post that article of yours?

It concerns a crossbow in the Royal Armouries Leeds, posts #88 and #89.


Thanks in advance,
and eagerly looking forward to some good reading,

Michael

Swordfish 9th June 2012 09:13 PM

10 Attachment(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Swordfish
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.



Looking through this old post, it was was criticized by two experts. This I can't let stand without contradiction. But before I'm going to disprove all arguments, the reader must have the opportunity to judge the weight of the opinions of these experts. Are these real experts, or self appointed so called 'experts' for early crossbows? Should I hereby tread on some ones toes, I apologize preventive for it, but there's no real discussion without any opposite opinion!

Quote Micke D:

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

The crossbow he was 'skeptic' about was a medieval wall crossbow sold at Galerie Fischer in 2010. This crossbow is surely the most rare and important Gothic crossbow that was for sale during the last 20-30 years. It was preserved in untouched condition, the composite bow painted with original Gothic foliage. What does he believed what it is, before Matchlock told him that it is a wall-crossbow? A fake? A big toy? Thus much to this expert.

To Matchlock:

He is surely an expert for early firearms, based on a huge collection of such items. But is he therefore necessarily also an expert for early halberds , daggers, swords, crossbows, armour? As far as I know, he has not a single such item (in not excavated condition) in his collection. A huge collection of pictures, downloaded from the web, is not enough to be an expert for these arms.

But now to their 'arguments'

Quote Matchlock:

"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 ..."


and later:
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!"

Answer:

That the surface of the side plates of the wall-crossbow and the crossbow in question differ from each other is obvious. And why? The side plates of the wall-crossbow retained their original rust patina surface, the rust of the side plates of the crossbow in question was cleaned off, therefore they must lock different(see pictures). Also the surface on the side plates, made of thin sheet metal, looks different as the surface on the solid trigger-lever on both crossbows.

And further Matchlock:

"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 it was for sale with HH."

Answer:

What should this crossbow be now? A crossbow of the 19th century Historismus period or a 20th or 21th century fake? Or a genuine Russian crossbow, as you believed before? There have been many Historismus crossbows on the market in the last 10-15 years. They are all similar to early crossbows, but can be easily identified at first sight as of the Historismus period. None of these, I repeat: None of these ever had an elaborate composite bow. If anyone knows one, please post a picture!

And why had none a composite bow? The answer is given by both experts:

Quote Micke D:

" 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."

And Matchlock:

"Hi David,
Welcome here!
As to rebuilding a composite hornbow crossbow and a matching cranequin, believe me: it is virtually impossible!.......
......I have heard of several people who, like you, tried to copy such an item and all failed in the end.
That's exactly why there is not one single replica of such a hornbow on the market!"

Comment:

If the knowledge of making elaborate composite crossbows was already lost in the 18th century, it was surely not rediscovered in the 19th century Historismus period. If it is impossible to make a composite bow today, where is than the ingenious faker who made this elaborate strongly reflex bow?

Quote Micke D:

"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?"

Answer:

That the bows in Köln are of an earlier date is no argument that such a reflex bow could not have been made 50 years later. I know three exactly identical bows. One is on a crossbow of exactly the same type as the one in question, it is a twin to this, only the decoration of the bone plates differ. It is in the collection of an experienced German collector of medieval arms and armour (except firearms), who is an acknowledged expert on this field, based on a huge own collection of such items, all in not excavated condition. The second is on a crossbow of typical Central European shape with a tiller of fruitwood of exactly the same length, with a spanning-hook at the upper side. The trigger-lever, the stirrup and the cord binding of the bow are exactly identical.(See the attached scans) All three crossbows must have been manufactured in the same workshop and this was not the workshop of a faker! Fakers always try to copy existing examples, they rarely invent new hitherto unknown types, which are hard to sell.

Quote Micke D:

"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."

Answer:

The cord binding is waxed with beeswax, old beeswax has exactly this color if it is not too dirty. You are right that the majority of surviving medieval crossbows have the stirrup fixed with leather stripes, but a minority has not, this is no proof that all stirrups must have been fixed with leather. Also many leather straps are later replacements. Attached some pictures with stirrups bound in with the same cord as the bow, all from this thread, all not genuine? The stirrup is unusual indeed, it is not forged as a solid piece, but as a profile. The trigger-lever of crossbows is usually also made of a solid piece of iron, but some examples do exist, where the trigger-lever is also forged as a profile (see attached pictures). Why? because a profile has nearly the same stability as a solid piece of iron, but is lighter.

Quote Micke D:

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

Answer:

This is right, but this is also a type of crossbow which was hitherto unknown. I know no reason why the tiller should not be of oak, do you know one? But I know a reason why it makes sense to make it of oak: Oak has a higher strength than fruitwood, therefore a tiller made of oak can be made more slender than a tiller of fruitwood, without losing stability. And the crossbow in question has a very slender tiller. Why? This is a purely war-crossbow, which must have been carried by foot all the day, therefore it should never be too heavy. That's also the reason that the stirrup was forged as a light profile. The weight of the crossbow in question is only 2.9 kg.


Quote Micke D:

" 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."

Answer:

I have never claimed that this is a typical Central European crossbow. I have only claimed that the bow, the cord binding, the stirrup and the trigger-lever are identical to an other known typical European crossbow (see scans). The tiller is of a different shape, but the iron side-plates are very similar to the side-plates of the wall-crossbow in#40. (see pictures)

Quote Matchlock:

"Excellent notations, Mikael, and exactly on the point!
All crossbow tillers I have seen were of either fruitwood or lime wood, except this one."

And later Matchlock:
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."

And Micke D:

" 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."

Answer:

I have never seen before..... Is this an argument with the academic approach you always require?

And the crossbow in Soest, made of maple?, is it therefore a fake? If you know a tiller made of lime wood, please post a picture! I know no tiller of lime wood, which is surely too soft for making durable tillers for crossbows, but I have seen a tiller made of European beech: the Baumkircher wall-crossbow in the KHM Vienna. Is this therefore a fake? But to determine the wood only on collected pictures from the web is a tricky business.


Attached more detailed pictures of the crossbow in question. Please note the close up details where the left and right hand grips the tiller. This wear and dark coloration is from hundreds of handlings of the tiller with a hard grip with a hand wet from sweat. In the cracks in the birch bark of the bow the layers of horn are visible.

Best

Swordfish 9th June 2012 09:16 PM

9 Attachment(s)
Crossbows with the stirrup bound in with cord. All pictures from this thread.

Swordfish 9th June 2012 09:21 PM

3 Attachment(s)
Iron side plates, trigger-lever forged as a profile, composite bow with similar cracks.

Swordfish 9th June 2012 09:24 PM

3 Attachment(s)
Typical Central European crossbow, all details, except the tiller are identical to the crossbow in question.

fernando 10th June 2012 05:04 PM

Hi Swordfish,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Swordfish
... This I can't let stand without contradiction. But before I'm going to disprove all arguments, the reader must have the opportunity to judge the weight of the opinions of these experts. Are these real experts, or self appointed so called 'experts' for early crossbows? ...


Should you in time consider that sometimes your style is not the ideal one, we would be happy to see you adopting a more diplomatic approach to other members posts.
Just don't leave room to anyone (correctly or incorrectly) realize that you have a second intention in contradicting their impressions.
The type of discussion we favour here is that of exchanging perspectives, not that of exchanging disputes ... specially those sounding personal.
Don't take it wrong; it may be our self appointed non expert feeling that things will derail if we don't use prevention brakes.

Swordfish 10th June 2012 08:09 PM

Dear Fernando,

It is not my intention to exchange personal disputes here, but if I am criticised hard to depict fakes here, it must be allowed to give a hard answer.
I don't believe that this forum should be a Theology-tutorial, where no controversial discussion is allowed. A discussion without opposed oppinions is no real discussion, but I know when I have to stop. There is no need for any prevention brakes, such as closing a thread.

Micke D 10th June 2012 08:39 PM

I have not had the time to read your answer through yet, but I will read it and explain what I meant with me earlier comments.
I hope that you don't take my comments personaly as it is the crossbows i'm doubting and not you as a person.
I am in no way an expert, I'm just an amateur, but as this is one of my favorite subjects I have read many books and seen a lot of crossbows, so I believe that I know something about how they should look.

Mikael Dahlström,
Stockholm Lockbow Society,
Sweden

Swordfish 10th June 2012 09:06 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Micke D
I have not had the time to read your answer through yet, but I will read it and explain what I meant with me earlier comments.
I hope that you don't take my comments personaly as it is the crossbows i'm doubting and not you as a person.
I am in no way an expert, I'm just an amateur, but as this is one of my favorite subjects I have read many books and seen a lot of crossbows, so I believe that I know something about how they should look.

Mikael Dahlström,
Stockholm Lockbow Society,
Sweden


Hi Micke,

If I have left the impression to criticise you personally, I apologize for that. Every contribution that is well foundet is wellcome, irrespective thereof if it comes from an expert or an amateur. We are all amateurs. In no case it was my intention to bar you from furher contributions.

Best


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